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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 08:33:47 AM

Title: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 08:33:47 AM
Helpful Mustachians, do you have any advice for me? My husband has been hospitalised in Mexico after becoming very unwell - I'm from the UK and not much used to dealing with paid medical care, plus I know there are many seasoned travellers here.

Sorry ths is so long - I may delete/edit this later for privacy but below is the summary I sent to our travel insurance company an hour ago. They've been helpful so far (the delay is because they need a report from our doctor to check this isn't an undeclared condition) and given good advice. However, I've just received a quick text sent by them overnight (Mexico time) but they've otherwise gone quiet. I can't imagine that they'll want to move him to the more expensive facility recommended to me. What I would really like is a medical escort home, to keep his BP stable until he can reach a hospital there, but I realise that's rather extravagant.

My husband has US and UK passports - I'm keeping his UK one separately and not showing anyone. I'm trying not to hand over any money but the private hospital and especially the ambulance crew were very aggressive about it. The public hospital have asked for nothing so far, bless them. I am very, very grateful that my time on this forum means I have a large emergency fund and savings.

I went 40 hours without sleep but I'm more rested now. I'm going now to buy a Mexican SIM card (as my phone service keeps maxing out and cutting off), possibly a cheap phone for him and also an inconspicuous backpack to keep his bipap machine safe with me during the day. I'm also going to see if the British Consulate can provide a translator, though I know they can't intervene on the quality of healthcare. I'm dressing modestly and saying gracias a lot.

Is there anything else I could be doing? It's quite a scary situation.

---
 
Hello,

Plese can you help with our ongoing medical situation as soon as possible? I called your helpline last night three times and gave full updates each time on my husband's hospital situation but I haven't heard back from anyone yet.

You had reports from my husband's GP which confirmed his medical history and I understand that you'll be able to confirm by now that his care will be covered - is this correct?

IN SUMMARY - my husband is unwell due to hypertensive crisis and he has been moved to a public hospital in Cancun where he is not receiving good treatment. His blood pressure is not being continously monitored and staff are reluctant to let me see him. He is very stressed, which cannot be helping. I need advice on what to do.

More details - [Mr Fig] was admitted to Amerimed hospital in Cancun, Mexico, on Sunday afternoon (local time). He was taken from our aeroplane by ambulance after a dangerous hypertensive crisis with an extremely severe headache/nausea. This condition has never happened before. His condition was stabilised at the hospital but the crippling headache continues - it definitely seems to be related but the cause is unknown.

He was there for less than 24 hours - the staff expected you to confirm within a couple of hours that you will pay the cost, though I appreciate that it takes longer than that. I had to pay them 80,000 pesos but I obtained receipts and, and as your team suggested, a fully itemized bill for the final costs and copies of his medical report.

Amerimed refused to keep him until the insurance is confirmed and on Monday morning transferred him to a public hospital on the outskirts of town. The ambulance crew took and withheld his passport until I paid them 5,270 pesos in cash - they would not accept your insurance details.

There was some kind of a handover with staff at the public hospital emergency room but all in Spanish and with their backs to us so we don't know what was said. He was then left for sometime (maybe an hour) without any monitoring, medication or attention. [Mr Fig] quickly began a new hypertensive crisis with unbearable headache. I begged several staff for help as this comes with a high risk of triggering a stroke/heart attack.

No-one helped until it was his turn in the queue. The nurse did not appear to arrive with a blood pressure kit, so I don't think staff understood the situation. Fortunately, this nurse spoke a little English and did test his BP and give medication so his BP came down. After a while, [MrFig] was taken for a (CT?) scan and then I was sent away. He is now in a ward where his blood pressure is (I hope) being checked at intervals but there are not facilities for continuous monitoring.

The staff have not kept me updated and do not speak much English. They finally let me see him to give him his BI-PAP machine, though they didn't appreciate that this is essential for his sleep due to sleep apnea. I finally found someone to tell me that his scan was negative. The only plan seems to be to keep him there, with maybe another scan in a few days if the headache does not resolve. Amerimed seemed to have a more active plan but didn't begin it.

A lady working at the hospital asked why we were there and not at another hospital. She put us on the phone with her son, who works for a UK tour operator. He also suggested that my husband would be better at another hospital and suggested the Victoria Clinic in Cancun which he says is much cleaner and more efficient than this public hospital but cheaper than Amerimed.

For info, our flight home is Friday 29 March (though we would happily depart as soon as possible). I am paying for a hotel here in Cancun (though we should be at prebooked accommodation in Merida by now) and I have coeliac disease, so I am finding it difficult to eat properly whilst spending my time at hospitals.

I do not know what to do now. Staff advised my husband does not keep valuables with him, including his phone, so he is alone with no way to contact me. He is stressed and scared, which cannot be helping his blood pressure.

Can you please advise what we should do? There is no WiFi at the hospital and limited mobile reception but I am checking email as often as I can.

Thank you

[Fig]
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: mlipps on March 19, 2019, 09:25:26 AM
In my experience travel insurance typically pays after the fact, not up front. Given that, I would work on getting him transferred now to one of the better hospitals. It doesn't seem worth the risk for him to continue receiving poor medical care while you wait for the travel insurance company to respond. You're likely going to have to pay out of pocket & get reimbursed anyway. Keep all the receipts and records but worry about the money once your husband is home and stable. If you can afford to go to Cancun for 10 days you can probably afford to pay for some medical care in Mexico.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Dicey on March 19, 2019, 09:48:55 AM
In my experience travel insurance typically pays after the fact, not up front. Given that, I would work on getting him transferred now to one of the better hospitals. It doesn't seem worth the risk for him to continue receiving poor medical care while you wait for the travel insurance company to respond. You're likely going to have to pay out of pocket & get reimbursed anyway. Keep all the receipts and records but worry about the money once your husband is home and stable. If you can afford to go to Cancun for 10 days you can probably afford to pay for some medical care in Mexico.
I second this. Now is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish. The goal is to get him well enough to make the journey home.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 09:54:29 AM
I paid the first hospital $4000 USD (more than this wretched vacation, for comparison) and they wanted a further $20,000, then quoted $20,000 per day to move him to ICU. I am happy to pay but cannot pay that out of pocket. It's also very difficult to get hospital staff to speak to me and they don't speak enough English to understand. I now have a contact at the British consulate, who I hope can help.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: SimpleCycle on March 19, 2019, 10:32:37 AM
First - breathe.  This must be terrifying for you, but your husband is in no shape to take a flight back to the UK.  So you will need to get him good medical care in Mexico at least until he is stable. Most likely you will need to pay up front and then be reimbursed.  That is how medical care works in Mexico.  It should be much less than the prices quoted by Amerimed though.  Amerimed has caused trouble for tourists in the past with outrageous medical bills.

Get the Google Translate app for your phone.  You speak into it and it translates to the target language.  It might have problems with the medical terminology but it should help immensely with day to day communications.

As for hospitals, I am seeing Hospiten Cancun recommended by tourists to Cancun, some of whom have had serious medical conditions.  I would pursue moving him there or to the clinic recommended by the tour operator.  Once you are there, there should be at least some doctors and nurses that speak English.  You could also look into telephone translation, but I am not sure if that is common in Mexico.

Good luck and keep us updated.  I'll be thinking of you and your husband.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Holyoak on March 19, 2019, 10:38:14 AM
Gosh Fig, you are experiencing what many might consider one of the worst fears for travelers.  I wish I could offer you substantive help here, but I can't...  I can however tell you, you are doing an admirable job taking care of your husband, and my most sincere best wishes for you both is sent.  Please be very careful with yourself too - All of this stress and extreme out of normal activity could drain you to the point where you too become a casualty.  Geez, it's hard enough to adapt even if you are in tip-top shape traveling to a very different locale.

I know it seems easy for me to say all of this sitting here, but make sure to drink plenty of good clean water, eat enough to keep your strength, rest, and if you can try and meditate for just a bit; it just might help take the edge off for a little bit.  I truly wish you and your husband the absolute best, admire your dedication and strength, and hope the consulate employs all of their resources to help you both out.   
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: SimpleCycle on March 19, 2019, 10:42:57 AM
Oh, and just in case you need it:

headache is: "dolor de cabeza"
high blood pressure is: "la presion alta"

I'm sure you can look up others on your phone or computer, but sometimes in emergencies I forget the basics.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Cassie on March 19, 2019, 10:52:47 AM
My experience with phone translation is that it can only handle the simplest of concepts.   In fact it doesn’t even come close. So sorry you are going through this. Yes travel insurance pays after the fact.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Dee18 on March 19, 2019, 11:31:36 AM
You could also try the American consulate since your husband is also an American citizen.  I imagine they deal with Americans with medical emergencies daily.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: I'm a red panda on March 19, 2019, 11:39:08 AM
I can post on a scuba forum I frequent and see if I can get in contact with anyone who is in Cancun and can offer help. Most of the people I know are based in Cozumel, but it's close.  Can you message a phone number or what's app they could use to contact you, if anyone responds?

I highly recommend contacting American consulate, since he is a US citizen too.
https://mx.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/merida/consular-agencies/

The Cancun agency closes at 1:30 pm:  999 316 7168
It says if it is a life and death emergency, you can be connected to a duty officer in Merida from that switchboard number
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 01:58:39 PM
Thank you for these very compassionate replies. I will respond more later.

For now I have Mexican SIM but since buying it I can't call abroad from any SIM. My sister talked to the insurance company. My cover is still not confirmed but (despite covering up to ££££ in the policy), they will not pay for a private hospital if a private one us available.

I'm a red panda - advice on hospitals ASAP wiyldbr v helpful if your contacts can advise. I'll message ypu
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: I'm a red panda on March 19, 2019, 02:26:51 PM
Unfortunately, the only thing I've gotten from my Cozumel connections is advice to call the US Consulate.

If you are concerned it is not adequate care, call it life or death when you call and get someone on the phone.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: beer-man on March 19, 2019, 02:28:39 PM
You need to try to relax a little. “Hypertensive crisis” is typically not something people get admitted for. My first clue that he is getting good care is that staff is not letting him see his blood pressure readings. Patients often send themselves into a hypertension crisis with their constant monitoring and subsequent anxiety.
 


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Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Bracken_Joy on March 19, 2019, 02:57:34 PM
You need to try to relax a little. “Hypertensive crisis” is typically not something people get admitted for. My first clue that he is getting good care is that staff is not letting him see his blood pressure readings. Patients often send themselves into a hypertension crisis with their constant monitoring and subsequent anxiety.

A hypertensive crisis absolutely is a common admitting diagnosis for emergency care. And no, withholding information from a patient is not indicative of good medical care. I hope to god you're not a nurse or doctor.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: skip207 on March 19, 2019, 03:57:35 PM
British Urgent Assistance number 0052 551670 3200 for Cancun region.

British Consulate General Cancun
Torre Europea
Office 202
Blvd. Kukulcan KM 12.5
Cancun Hotel Zone
77500 Cancun
Mexico
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Freedomin5 on March 19, 2019, 04:16:55 PM
It’s so weird that your insurance does not have a 24-hour travel emergency hotline. Once you have the doctor’s report recommending hospitalization, it should be faxed (by you) or take a photo and email, to the insurance representative. The insurance should then open a case for you and give you a case number, and then work directly with the hospital billing staff to remit payment to the hospital.

Note that most travel insurance companies aren’t concerned with you receiving “best” care. You receive adequate emergency care, sometimes for the purpose of stabilization, and then you’re expected to go home as soon as you can travel to receive proper care.

Most of the time, I’ve had to pay out of pocket and then submit receipts for reimbursement. For very large expenses (such as emergency hospital stays), insurance typically needs to review the doctors’ report before issuing pre-authorization. Sometimes, if insurance feels like you are being cheated out of money by the hospital and the hospital is ordering unnecessary treatments to scam you, insurance will pay for you to leave the country to receive care at home.

I mean, $20k per day for hospital stay sounds like a scam. I live as an expat in a third world country with questionable healthcare, and it only cost $6k per day to stay at the TOP luxury hospital in the city.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Exflyboy on March 19, 2019, 05:30:12 PM
P2F because I really want to know how this works in real life.

I also offer you the very best even though I have no useful advice.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: The_Dude on March 19, 2019, 06:20:17 PM
There are numerous articles about tainted alcohol related injuries, illnesses and death in Mexico.  The scary part is that some of these articles have accused the Mexican health care system of extorting tourists on medical care.  They sound exactly like what you are going through in demanding extraordinarily large sums up front to continue care.  One of the things these articles I've read have in common is total stonewalling by authorities so there doesn't seem to be much people can do about it once someone is sick in one of these hospitals.  I wish you the best of luck. 
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: I'm a red panda on March 19, 2019, 07:46:40 PM
Have you called the consulate yet?
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 07:53:36 PM
A quick reply, more details soon. I have called the consulate and they have provided a translator and found out for me the (very limited) visiting hours. I've now seen my husband, who is stabilised and improving. Thank you for advising and thinking of me.   
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Holyoak on March 19, 2019, 09:27:54 PM
A quick reply, more details soon. I have called the consulate and they have provided a translator and found out for me the (very limited) visiting hours. I've now seen my husband, who is stabilised and improving. Thank you for advising and thinking of me.

Great news Fig!  Lots of folks here sending prayers, continued well wishes, and strength.  You're doing great, and glad to hear your husband is too!
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 09:34:07 PM
To all those who gave helpful and supportive replies, thank you so much.

This has been like an awful clichéd nightmare, from 'Is there a doctor on the plane?' to everything after that. I'm so grateful that my husband didn't require more serious intervention. He is now more stable and his crippling head pain is almost gone. He is also being monitored on a ward, with medication available, and may be discharged tomorrow. He has therefore decided to stay one more night in the public hospital, though I said we can pay elsewhere if needed.

Our travel insurance is still not confirmed but they refuse to pay for a private hospital now the emergency is over (and previously specifically said not Hospiten, unfortunately).  He needs to avoid stress so I don't want to put him through another terrible ambulance trip. I'm also not sure where would accept us without insurance or where else might try to charge inflated fees. With all this justification, however, you can probably tell I'm not comfortable with this decision.

Anyway, the British Consulate provided a translator who is very good at commanding attention and this helped enormously. (I am keeping the American Consulate in mind too). I feel wretched for all the people at the hospital without this benefit. Everyone deserves the level of care the private hospital offered (... until they didn't).

I wasn't clear in my OP but the private place was definitely inflating the fees - the insurance company challenge this regularly and I gather I'm paying for the sins of foreigners who scarper after being treated. I'm familiar with sometimes paying up front then being reimbursed but don't have the resources to be extorted to this extent. Also, I was advised by my insurers to pay nothing more myself, though that's not helpful when my confirmation is (I hope) stuck in their in-tray.

We've always travelled independently but may need to book with a tour operator for extra support in future. Google Translate is very helpful, within its limitations, especially now I have lots of Mexican data.

I'm resting now and soon I'll fall asleep to some bad TV if I can. My appetite vanished but now I'm making myself eat healthy food. I'm running on adrenaline, so I know I'll crash when this is all over.


It’s so weird that your insurance does not have a 24-hour travel emergency hotline. Once you have the doctor’s report recommending hospitalization, it should be faxed (by you) or take a photo and email, to the insurance representative. The insurance should then open a case for you and give you a case number, and then work directly with the hospital billing staff to remit payment to the hospital.

Note that most travel insurance companies aren’t concerned with you receiving “best” care. You receive adequate emergency care, sometimes for the purpose of stabilization, and then you’re expected to go home as soon as you can travel to receive proper care.

There is a 24 hour helpline but it's mainly staffed by call handlers and often no-one calls back as promised. I have reached staff sometimes and some have emailed and texted, but there's been very little response for over 24 hours. They have everything they need to open a case with the hospital but it's still waiting to be signed off, apparently. Bit worrying.

You're absolutely right about only having enough cover to be stabilised but the text I've underlined is a very helpful point, so I'll try asking if they'll help us go home sooner. It will presumably cost less than a possible recurrance.

You need to try to relax a little. “Hypertensive crisis” is typically not something people get admitted for. My first clue that he is getting good care is that staff is not letting him see his blood pressure readings. Patients often send themselves into a hypertension crisis with their constant monitoring and subsequent anxiety.

A hypertensive crisis absolutely is a common admitting diagnosis for emergency care. And no, withholding information from a patient is not indicative of good medical care. I hope to god you're not a nurse or doctor.

@beer-man : You don't know my husband's symptoms or medical history, so this wasn't at all constructive. In case you ever find yourself in this situation - hopefully not, especially in a foreign country with no explanation of what's being done for you - please read this information:
www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings/hypertensive-crisis-when-you-should-call-911-for-high-blood-pressure

@Bracken_Joy : as always, you're one of the best people on this forum.



Thank you again to all of you kind people.


Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: SimpleCycle on March 19, 2019, 10:12:29 PM
Thanks for the update - I am so glad things are looking better.  I'm sorry your insurance hasn't been more helpful since situations like this are why you buy insurance.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 10:38:50 PM
Thank you and absolutely - I realise these companies are driven by profit but it's not been helpful. I'm not sure if there are ways to be more sure of good healthcare overseas if the need arises, but I plan to investigate.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Abe on March 19, 2019, 10:47:24 PM
Once you’re back home be sure to have him evaluated for the cause of the hypertension and headaches. There are a couple of reasons that are easily treatable. Glad he’s doing better.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 19, 2019, 11:04:20 PM
Definitely - this needs investigation. Thank you.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Dicey on March 20, 2019, 12:38:53 AM
In my experience travel insurance typically pays after the fact, not up front. Given that, I would work on getting him transferred now to one of the better hospitals. It doesn't seem worth the risk for him to continue receiving poor medical care while you wait for the travel insurance company to respond. You're likely going to have to pay out of pocket & get reimbursed anyway. Keep all the receipts and records but worry about the money once your husband is home and stable. If you can afford to go to Cancun for 10 days you can probably afford to pay for some medical care in Mexico.

I second this. Now is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish. The goal is to get him well enough to make the journey home.

I paid the first hospital $4000 USD (more than this wretched vacation, for comparison) and they wanted a further $20,000, then quoted $20,000 per day to move him to ICU. I am happy to pay but cannot pay that out of pocket. It's also very difficult to get hospital staff to speak to me and they don't speak enough English to understand. I now have a contact at the British consulate, who I hope can help.
Oh, sweet Jeebus, those numbers are insane! You poor thing! I am glad you got some help and that DH is going better. I hope you get a few good hours of rest and that things look better in the morning.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Freedomin5 on March 20, 2019, 01:58:33 AM
Yes, ask insurance if they will cover your emergency flight back home — see if it’s one of your benefits. Note the time of the call and get the name of the person who took your call. Get them to email their response to you as well.  That way, when you submit receipts for reimbursement, you have documentation that they agreed to cover the flight.

You may need to get a doctor to sign off on air travel.

Also, ask insurance to copy you on all email communication with the hospital. That way you also have a copy of all the documentation.

Good luck. It sounds like the worst is over, but I’m sure you’ll feel much more comfortable once you’re back in your home country.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: mlipps on March 20, 2019, 09:13:34 AM
Yes, ask insurance if they will cover your emergency flight back home — see if it’s one of your benefits. Note the time of the call and get the name of the person who took your call. Get them to email their response to you as well.  That way, when you submit receipts for reimbursement, you have documentation that they agreed to cover the flight.

You may need to get a doctor to sign off on air travel.

Also, ask insurance to copy you on all email communication with the hospital. That way you also have a copy of all the documentation.

Good luck. It sounds like the worst is over, but I’m sure you’ll feel much more comfortable once you’re back in your home country.

Credit card insurance sometimes will pick this up as well, if you booked the original flight with one. Not sure how that might vary in the UK, but worth investigating as a backup option.

So glad to hear your husband is stabilized. Thinking of you both!
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on March 20, 2019, 09:29:04 AM
I was also going to suggest checking in with the concierge/travel insurance from your credit card.  You may also try talking to the manager of the hotel you are supposed to be staying at.  Some of them will be helpful to keep tourists happy and avoid bad reviews.

I also have to eat 100% gluten free and dairy free so I sympathize with your dietary issues.  How scary.  If you don't already use it, try the "find me gluten free" app or the Celiac World Travel Facebook group for ideas on safe places to eat nearby.  I just got back from a trip to the middle east where people had no idea what gluten was even in their language.  My safest bet was just trying not to explain it and instead asking for meat and veggies, no bread/pasta/sauce. I know that doesn't help you with cross contamination issues but I just couldn't get into that level of discussion and tried to order foods that were naturally gluten free. 

There are also celiac travel cards online.  Here is the Spanish one.  Wishing you the best:
http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/spanish/

Also, while I fully understand that my personal health insurance covers me overseas but that I may have to pay up front and be reimbursed, who has $100k cash lying around? That is a true hardship even for the most mustachian. 
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Dicey on March 20, 2019, 10:00:18 AM
I was also going to suggest checking in with the concierge/travel insurance from your credit card.  You may also try talking to the manager of the hotel you are supposed to be staying at.  Some of them will be helpful to keep tourists happy and avoid bad reviews.

I also have to eat 100% gluten free and dairy free so I sympathize with your dietary issues.  How scary.  If you don't already use it, try the "find me gluten free" app or the Celiac World Travel Facebook group for ideas on safe places to eat nearby.  I just got back from a trip to the middle east where people had no idea what gluten was even in their language.  My safest bet was just trying not to explain it and instead asking for meat and veggies, no bread/pasta/sauce. I know that doesn't help you with cross contamination issues but I just couldn't get into that level of discussion and tried to order foods that were naturally gluten free. 

There are also celiac travel cards online.  Here is the Spanish one.  Wishing you the best:
http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/spanish/

Also, while I fully understand that my personal health insurance covers me overseas but that I may have to pay up front and be reimbursed, who has $100k cash lying around? That is a true hardship even for the most mustachian.
I love this community! Thanks for providing such helpful "keep your own airmask on". OP needs to keep up her strength to get through this ordeal.

As to your $100k question, I added to my original comment, which was made before I was aware of the huge amounts of money that were being demanded. I was thinking more along the lines of sticking it on a CC and worrying about the money later. Your point is still valid. I'm FIRE, but sure as hell don't carry that much credit limit on all of my active cards combined.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on March 20, 2019, 10:15:53 AM
Or the money is in investments or savings accounts even that take a day or two to transfer to checking to access the cash. And no ATM will let you withdraw that amount.  Terrifying.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Eric on March 20, 2019, 01:01:54 PM
Are we sure the prices quoted were in US dollars?  Both the US and Mexico use the exact same $ symbol.  But $20,000 mexican pesos is about $1000 USD, which seems like a more typical amount to pay.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: The_Dude on March 20, 2019, 02:35:45 PM
The articles I've ready have stories of Mexican hospitals extorting $10-$20K US for care and wanting dollars not pesos.  Just google "Mexican hospital extortion."  It's a real thing.  Here are just two articles. 

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2017/07/20/all-inclusive-resorts-mexico-suspected-drugging-tourists/490429001/

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/oct/27/spokane-woman-says-mexican-hospital-held-her-hosta/

Sorry OP for not bringing constructive comments but I also feel like people should be aware of the dangers to tourists in the Mexican health care system. 
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: frugaldrummer on March 20, 2019, 06:19:52 PM
Ok that second article is stupid. Nowhere does It mention that the woman should have had travelers insurance. Your American health insurance doesn't cover you outside the country most of the time. I agree her bills were exorbitant but I don't blame Mexican hospitals for wanting to make sure they get paid either.
The lesson is, don't travel outside the states without travel insurance that covers medical evacuation.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Exflyboy on March 20, 2019, 07:52:07 PM
Yes and through Berkshire Hathaway its cheap too. My 3 week trip to the Philippines cost $27.. included $50k's worth of medical and $1M extraction.. Not talking about teeth..:)
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 20, 2019, 08:01:52 PM
Are we sure the prices quoted were in US dollars?  Both the US and Mexico use the exact same $ symbol.  But $20,000 mexican pesos is about $1000 USD, which seems like a more typical amount to pay.

A reasonable question but I'm afraid so. £3,200/$4k USD went from my bank account on arrival (my husband heard someone with a broken arm crying about their $6k USD starting fee) and staff were crystal clear that ICU would be $20k USD per day. As my husband only needed monitoring after he was stabilised, I don't think he even required ICU treatment anyway.

I typed that waiting at the public hospital. My husband was ready to be discharged but I was waiting at a distance until the translator arrives to help with final paperwork and guidance (I am so very grateful to him...). Two staff clocked who I was and told me how to pay the bill, but that's the first time money was mentioned. And it was $4,300... in pesos. About £175, including a CT scan, which the private place would not do without more money. Now I feel like the person robbing someone...

Ok that second article is stupid. Nowhere does It mention that the woman should have had travelers insurance. Your American health insurance doesn't cover you outside the country most of the time. I agree her bills were exorbitant but I don't blame Mexican hospitals for wanting to make sure they get paid either.
The lesson is, don't travel outside the states without travel insurance that covers medical evacuation.

In my case, we had adequate travel insurance but the hospital bounced us out the door when it couldn't be confirmed as fast as they'd like. The system does not work well.

Anyway... I I have my husband back. He's exhausted and needs to rest for two days before we can travel, when we hope to go home early. I'm hoping I can sleep too. I stayed awake all night last night worrying whether he was OK. Thank goodness he is.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Exflyboy on March 20, 2019, 08:48:40 PM
So fig, I am slightly confused.. You mean you paid $4000USD and then the public hospital charged you are further 175 Pounds?

Did your insurance company finally agree to pay the bill?

So glad Hubby is doing well..:)
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Classical_Liberal on March 21, 2019, 02:14:12 AM
You need to try to relax a little. “Hypertensive crisis” is typically not something people get admitted for.

FYI this is factually incorrect.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Linea_Norway on March 21, 2019, 07:59:54 AM
In my case, we had adequate travel insurance but the hospital bounced us out the door when it couldn't be confirmed as fast as they'd like. The system does not work well.

Anyway... I I have my husband back. He's exhausted and needs to rest for two days before we can travel, when we hope to go home early. I'm hoping I can sleep too. I stayed awake all night last night worrying whether he was OK. Thank goodness he is.

I feel for you. Good that he is back and stable. Take it easy on the travel home.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: MarcherLady on March 21, 2019, 12:24:02 PM
Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry to hear this. My best wishes to both of you and I hope he feels up to the flight home soon.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Eric on March 21, 2019, 12:27:02 PM
Are we sure the prices quoted were in US dollars?  Both the US and Mexico use the exact same $ symbol.  But $20,000 mexican pesos is about $1000 USD, which seems like a more typical amount to pay.

A reasonable question but I'm afraid so. £3,200/$4k USD went from my bank account on arrival (my husband heard someone with a broken arm crying about their $6k USD starting fee) and staff were crystal clear that ICU would be $20k USD per day. As my husband only needed monitoring after he was stabilised, I don't think he even required ICU treatment anyway.

I typed that waiting at the public hospital. My husband was ready to be discharged but I was waiting at a distance until the translator arrives to help with final paperwork and guidance (I am so very grateful to him...). Two staff clocked who I was and told me how to pay the bill, but that's the first time money was mentioned. And it was $4,300... in pesos. About £175, including a CT scan, which the private place would not do without more money. Now I feel like the person robbing someone...

Thanks for the clarification.  And wow, what a nightmare.  Not only did your husband need emergency treatment, but then the hospital absolutely extorted you to take advantage of your emergency situation.  Total scumbags.

It's good to hear that the worst is over.  It sounds like you guys are going to be okay now, that's great. Good luck the rest of the way. 
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on March 21, 2019, 02:35:05 PM
If you can at all afford it, I highly recommend getting lay flat business class seats for the flights home.  I'm a reforming fearful flier prone to panic attacks on planes. We just took a trip to the Middle East and we splurged w/ credit card points and some extra cash to travel business class for the first time.  I was 100% calmer than usual and actually slept on the plane, including through turbulence.  It is a lot less scary laying down in your own space instead of crammed between two strangers with no leg room bouncing around. For a health emergency, I'd say it is worth every penny and what an emergency fund is for!
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Exflyboy on March 21, 2019, 02:52:17 PM
If you can at all afford it, I highly recommend getting lay flat business class seats for the flights home.  I'm a reforming fearful flier prone to panic attacks on planes. We just took a trip to the Middle East and we splurged w/ credit card points and some extra cash to travel business class for the first time.  I was 100% calmer than usual and actually slept on the plane, including through turbulence.  It is a lot less scary laying down in your own space instead of crammed between two strangers with no leg room bouncing around. For a health emergency, I'd say it is worth every penny and what an emergency fund is for!

I second this.. I am not a fearful flyer, I'm an experienced pilot and log time business traveller (so come from an opposite perspective). The comfort of a lay flat BC seat is simply night and day compared to cattle class and if a health crisis at 35,000ft is even a remote possibility then the extra outlay is more than worth it!

Good call @Blonde Lawyer
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: FatFI2025 on March 22, 2019, 10:08:58 AM
Ugh, what a terrible experience. I'm happy to read that your DH is on the mend. At least you've put the extortion issue behind you -- I think Mexican authorities really need to work on that if they want to keep wealthy old tourists coming.

I do have some advice dealing with the insurance claim. Put your best attorney/solicitor hat on. Don't call on an unrecorded line and ask questions about policy coverages because phone reps are uninformed, not going to work in your best interests, and their representations won't be binding.Get a copy of the policy (i.e. terms and conditions) -- it's a contract between you and the insurance company -- and read it through. When you file your claim, reference the policy..."Pursuant to paragraph X.X of the Policy, please find enclosed hospital invoices for emergency medical care...For determination under article X.X, I have enclosed a copy of a letter from Dr. SoandSo explaining that Mr. Fig had normal blood pressure prior to the trip and therefore had no preexisting condition that would exclude coverage under paragraph X.X"

You will probably get some portion of the claim declined, so you will need to reply with a demand letter. Keep in mind that even if there's a foreign jurisdiction identified in the policy, a company doing business in the UK will still have to respond to legal complaints there, even to have them dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Also check to see if certain choice-of-law provisions are nullified by statute where you purchased the policy. I'm not saying that you should go the legal route, but an insurance company will pay out if they think a policyholder will cause them any legal costs.

The system sucks, but it's the reality. And it's just money so there's no need to expend any emotional energy being angry at an insurance company. Because you're an amazing mustachian you can be patient to put in time and effort to get every cent/peso/pence you're owed.

Note I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: tralfamadorian on March 22, 2019, 06:26:16 PM
I'm so sorry you are going through this OP. Do you mind sharing your travel insurance company, at least temporarily? It does not appear that they have done much to advocate on you and your husband's behalf and sound like a company that other mustachians should avoid.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: KBecks on March 26, 2019, 05:51:08 PM
Some hospitals in Mexico will scam tourists.  You should get your husband home as soon as he can fly.  Get him released and get him home.  Google Mexican hospital scam and read up on it.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: SimpleCycle on March 27, 2019, 09:32:08 AM
@Fig are you guys home?  How is your husband doing?
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Fig on March 27, 2019, 10:13:35 AM
Hi @SimpleCycle and thank you for asking! We're home safely... my husband struggled o  the flight but he's doing OK now. We're both exhausted, so while I've started a reply to this thread, I haven't managed to finish answering everyone's points, though there there is a bit of a ramble on my journal. Thank you for your concern... I will post a better summary soon in case it's useful to anyone.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Cassie on March 27, 2019, 10:35:15 AM
I almost died from a hypertensive crisis at 50 despite being in great shape with no known health issues. Yes it’s real.  The same thing happened to my brother.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Dicey on March 27, 2019, 10:35:52 AM
Hi @SimpleCycle and thank you for asking! We're home safely... my husband struggled o  the flight but he's doing OK now. We're both exhausted, so while I've started a reply to this thread, I haven't managed to finish answering everyone's points, though there there is a bit of a ramble on my journal. Thank you for your concern... I will post a better summary soon in case it's useful to anyone.
Whew! Glad you made it home safely. Off to find your journal...
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Exflyboy on March 27, 2019, 11:36:09 AM
Glad to hear all is OK.

I'll be interested in reading your learnings from the whole experience in due course. This would be useful so that someone in the future might be able to avoid some pitfalls..

All the best..
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: Bracken_Joy on March 28, 2019, 08:11:57 PM
So glad to hear you're home and doing well @Fig ! I hope he recovers fully and you get some answers.
Title: Re: ADVICE PLEASE - Medical emergency in Mexico
Post by: green daisy on March 28, 2019, 09:54:39 PM
Wow!  I’m just seeing this thread for the first time. I’m so glad your husband is doing better and that you made it home safely.  You did an impressive job remaining calm and factual in your communications during an incredibly stressful time.  I’m really so impressed by you!