Que Pasa Magazine – Interview With Lori Shea
Interview with Que Pasa magazine – PDF Version
Healthcare Elsewhere – Medical Travel Podcast
Listen to Lori Shea’s, Founder and CEO of Guatemala Medical Travel, interview on Healthcare Elsewhere,
Your Daily Medical Tourism Show.
Revue Magazine – ‘Healthy Solutions’ Articles
REVUE Magazine – Guatemala’s most widely read English-language magazine,
with a print circulation of 20,000 per month.
#Cancer Treatment in Guatemala, Revue Magazine – PDF version
#Cardiology Procedures in Guatemala, Revue Magazine – PDF version
#Aortic Valve Replacement in Guatemala City, Revue Magazine – PDF Version
#Buying Medical Care vs. Medical Insurance, Revue Magazine – PDF version
#Stem Cell Therapy, Revue Magazine, February 2012 – PDF version
#Orthopedic Care in Guatemala, Revue Magazine – PDF version
#Dental Care in Guatemala, Revue Magazine – PDF version
#My Own Medical Adventure in Guatemala, Revue Magazine – PDF version
Guatemala Medical Travel Newsletter Stories
If you want to celebrate your 70th birthday in style, with all of your sailing and traveling buddies, Rio Dulce Guatemala is the place to do it. Our friend Emy survived dancing on the bar, and having a grand time with the old pirate crew, but on the short jungle pathway home, a stray tree root reached out and grabbed her foot. (Well, that’s the way she tells it, anyway).
Emy gracefully met the ground with both hands bracing, but on impact, the bones around her left elbow shattered. After a few days, the swelling and pain were increasing, so she knew it was time to call Guatemala Medical Travel, hire the pros, and go to the city for a proper evaluation with an orthopedic specialist. Dr. Collia said, “This is a terrible fracture, completely displaced, and the prognosis is worse when there is cartilage involved.” Elbow surgery was scheduled for the following week.
During that week, while we waited for Emy’s swelling to reduce, the GMT staff were busy with preparations: checking on patient progress, negotiating expenses with the hospital, securing availability of medications, scheduling accommodations, and discussing every detail in anticipation of Emy’s full recovery and total personal comfort.
At her one-month follow-up, the surgeon sees 80% fusion with the bones and very good range of motion. Even better, the patient is dedicated to continuing therapy, and she reports no pain at all. Emy says, “I totally appreciate the exceptional care from the handsome Dr. C., and the professional competence carried out by GMT. I had not seen a doctor in all my time in Guatemala and had no idea where to look, so the guidance of a knowledgeable agent was invaluable to me and my recovery.”
From Beachside Paradise To Emergency Brain Surgery
“Sorry, I can’t attend the New Year’s Eve party – Having emergency brain surgery, you know.” Now there’s an excuse you don’t get to use too often.
Last December, Walter was a lanky, bright-eyed 70-something retiree enjoying his breezy bungalow, tropical garden and small-town neighbors only a few blocks from the Guatemalan Pacific coast. On an average day, he exited the motor launch and took a sharp hit to the head. This trauma seems to have started the bleeding between Walter’s brain and skull. His hematoma grew slowly at first, then it invaded the entire space, eventually pushing his brain dangerously out of alignment.
Local folks thought it strange when he was acting disoriented, and even fell down several times. Christmas came and went with no improvement, so the neighbors sent Walter to a “free clinic” public hospital where his condition worsened to the point that he could neither speak nor walk. Fortunately, a resourceful friend phoned his family in Arizona, who contacted Guatemala Medical Travel for help, on the morning of the 29th.
The GMT fact-finding mission started with the village neighbors, the U.S. embassy and the Guatemalan Tourist Assistance Board, in order to locate exactly where he was. Then came another flurry of phone calls, hospital release, ambulance transport, and a pile of documentation copied, scanned, and delivered in triplicate to everyone involved. By 4:00 in the afternoon, Walter arrived to the ER at one of the best private hospitals in the city, and was admitted to the ICU under the cautious care of Dr. Matheu, neurosurgeon.
I was finishing one of a dozen calls to his brother and sister-in-law that night when Dr. Matheu called me to say that Walter’s condition had deteriorated and was now life-threatening. “He needs surgery urgently for any chance of recovery.” They were prepping him for surgery in the morning. “But the wire transfer… there’s no money yet… this surgery is expensive…. No banking for two days, and processing, and delays…. Well, who knows WHAT could happen?” My 1-10 stress meter shot up to around 15 by now.
Dr. Matheu smiled at me in his normal light-hearted way, and said, “Don’t worry, Lori. We’re just going to go in and save his life and everything will be okay.” And they did. And it was. Okay!
Of course, there’s a whole lot more to the story, so if you’re down by the beach, look for the breezy bungalow with the lush garden, or find Walter walking his dog over at the beachfront hotel. You also might ask him to share his “death defying” story, but be sure to clear your schedule and settle in for a few hours, because you’ll be hearing about one crazy incredible odyssey.
*Two months later in early March, Walter adds: “I continue to be active and have no symptoms resulting from the injury. I am lucky and grateful. I’ve been traveling nine days in Mexico on chicken buses and I am in excellent condition for a man my age.”
Back-Packing From Australia, to Surgery in Guatemala
Kieran had been back-packing through South and Central America, immersing himself in the various cultures and volunteering in villages of the highlands of Guatemala. He is young and active, so when a medical condition needed fast attention, he called Guatemala Medical Travel to handle the preparation and then schedule a routine procedure in Guatemala City the following week.
The operation and recovery were a great success. The staff of Angie’s Guest Houseeven threw a little birthday party to be sure he wasn’t alone on his special day. Kieran had excellent medical care, and after a few weeks to relax and take it easy, a successful recovery. Overall, his medical outcome and impression of Guatemala were nothing but positive.
“Doctor Mishaan was my surgeon and I felt confident in his qualifications and ability. I had no problems communicating with him in English and I found him to be straight to the point. The clinic was clean and the staff were professional. I had originally thought of having surgery in México but I am glad I chose Guatemala and Dr Mishaan, as the service from the whole team was prompt and very helpful. Lori and Jade were both brilliant and I would certainly recommend them to anyone.”
Linda, The All-Around Medical Traveler
After enjoying a fortunate life of good health and plenty of physical activity, Linda was thinking that after turning 60, it’s wise to get some thorough medical check-ups, like tune-up and repairs, from head to toe. Considering the outrageous medical expense in the United States, and the “low price for high quality” value in Guatemala, Linda knew what she had to do to complete her medical agenda.
The flight from Florida to Guatemala City is the easy part – less than two and half hours away. Linda knew that scheduling consultations, exams, diagnostics, procedures and follow up visits with unknown doctors and hospitals in a foreign country would be nearly impossible, so she contacted the patient advocate specialists at Guatemala Medical Travel. Communication and coordination are what we do best.
Linda’s primary concern was to get some treatment and relief of that old shoulder impingement that was limiting her range of motion. Dr. Collia determined that she would need an arthroscopic procedure to release her shoulder that had become “frozen”.
Moving forward with the schedule, a routine colonoscopy with Dr. Garcia de la Riva, gastroenterologist extraordinaire, was next on the list. Linda says, “In the States it is an expensive procedure and therefore many people forgo doing it. What was a nice touch in Guatemala that I was served a lovely breakfast, after 15 hours fasting, and I had time to recover in a private room after the procedure. It was a very thoughtful addition.”
Linda had internal check-ups and diagnostic procedures with four different specialists in only two days. They discussed various options, but basically assured her that all organs and systems were operating efficiently and smoothly, as expected. To round out the “medical travel whirlwind”, Linda’s GMT nurse companion accompanied her to the dermatologist, Dra. Sofia Wolmers, for a methodical, magnified investigation of every little bump and spot. Linda left there with a positive evaluation and some excellent advice about how to keep her skin looking healthy and youthful.
Stress and worry upset the body’s natural inclination to heal itself. Linda’s entire medical experience was well under control with the business and nursing attention of GMT, so that her only responsibility was to relax, and heal, and plan how to spend the rest of her peaceful Guatemala vacation.
Medical Travel Services Help Local Guatemalans
Most Guatemala Medical Travel clients arrive from other countries, but sometimes we have a request from loved ones or guardians to care for local residents who may not have the contacts or resources to navigate the top-notch private hospital system by themselves.
After Sr. Perez, a resident of San Marcos Guatemala, suffered an industrial accident while working in Florida, he was in a terrible state, requiring several surgeries to bring his sight, hearing, balance and speech back to normal. His U.S insurance company would pay for the expenses but was impossible for them to oversee his care in a foreign country.
They trust Guatemala Medical Travel to coordinate procedures with Dr. Michel Nuyens, Dr Samuel Oliva and various other providers, so that Sr. Perez was able to have all of his medical attention close to his home, in Guatemala City, and at a fraction of the price.
When the son of Sra. Gomez was not able to travel from the United States to Guatemala to care for his dying mother, he called GMT to arrange for transport to the best possible healthcare facility, with our known and trusted hospital associates of Dr. Lopez. Both of the GMT patients, and their families, are grateful for the life-changing medical attention that they may not have received without an international medical advocate to intervene.
Affordable Dental Care with a Florida-to-Guatemala Commute
Working for the airline has its perks – like free flights to local and foreign destinations. Jim and Laura can take advantage of a short 2-hour-20-minute trip from Miami to GUA, plus they can schedule appointments for superior high-tech dental procedures only 10 minutes away from the airport.
In the elegant and spacious Dental Design clinic of Dr. Contreras and Dr. Alfaro, foreign patients and frequent travelers know they will receive world-class quality dental materials and the warm VIP welcome offered to honored friends and guests – old, and new.
Come back in a couple weeks for bridges and crowns, or in a couple months to finish implants? Not a problem. Guatemala Medical Travel arranges for airport pick-up and personal services, even dinners and tours. After final adjustments on their new restorations, Jim and Laura head home from vacation with more than vacation souvenirs and memories. They have healthy teeth and glowing smiles that will last for twenty years.
From Laura…. “Just wanted to thank you again for all you do! We had a really great experience with everything in Guatemala! I have referred you (Guatemala Medical Travel) and the dentists (Dr. Contreras and Dr. Alfaro) to several people already, including my parents, who just may be coming for periodontal cleanings. !! After having the first phase of the implants, I’m feeling great! I’m having minimal pain but under control with meds and I slept fine. I’m doing great – All in all, everything is better than expected!”
Insurance Settlement Buys a Lot More Care in Guatemala
Mia is a free-spirit and world traveler, well-known for several years around her pied-a-terre, Antigua Guatemala. During a care-free bicycle ride in Galway Ireland, she was struck by a car and suffered steadily degenerating back and neck injuries. The driver was at fault and an insurance settlement is in the process. Determined as ever, Mia continued with her round-the-world travel plans to Malaysia, South Africa, and beyond.
Fast-forward to this month — Mia returned to Guatemala to arrange for her medical care under the careful management of Guatemala Medical Travel, because she knows that the professional attention and personal care she receives here are of the highest quality. Another bonus is that the insurance funding will cover the medical expenses, with some much-needed cash leftover.
The orthopedic surgeon has diagnosed two fractures, requiring both lumbar and cervical procedures. The GMT administrative staff is busy preparing and submitting all the medical, legal and financial documentation from this end, in preparation of receiving a satisfactory settlement.
We hope that Mia will soon have the two successful surgeries behind her, so she can start working on the therapy that will restore her normal level of activity. But please, the doctor’s orders are: “No boogie-boarding, jungle trekking or mountain biking”, at least not for now.
Cancer Treatment Not Available In The USA Yet
“Of course Mr. M., we would be happy to help you to receive the finest global-quality medical attention in Guatemala as soon as you arrive.”
GMT Patient Advocate: OK, now let’s review please, to be sure that I get this right….
One, the cancer patient has had first class work-ups at the NIH/ National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins Cancer Center, Georgetown U. Medical Center and MD Anderson.
Two, all of their oncologists agree that a prescription for Yondelis/ Trabectedin chemotherapy will be the best course of treatment for the patient.
Three, you have excellent insurance coverage with Blue Cross, and they agree to pay for all the medical expenses associated with the chemotherapy.
Four, Yondelis was co-developed by Johnson & Johnson, approved for the European market in 2007, and is successfully used world-wide, but is still not FDA-approved in America?
Cancer Patient: Yes, that’s correct. We will need to fly from Virginia to Guatemala every three weeks for the injections.
GMT: I understand. Let’s get started right away.
Insurance Coverage Is No Guarantee Of Success
Mrs. B normally enjoys good coverage from her medical insurance in California, but when she experienced astounding life-enhancing results with naturopathic medical specialists, her insurance company refused to pay.
During the course of various medical procedures and consultations in Guatemala, Mrs. B. was moved to tears by the brilliance and compassion of her medical team. The Guatemala Medical Travel staff pulled it all together seamlessly from contact and preparation to on-the-ground logistics, to the follow-up reporting for her doctors back home.
For starters, thank you all for your efforts and attention to our medical needs. We learned so much and came away with more than we had hoped. Great personal and medical attention and enough information to start our own liver clinic! You really impacted her life in a positive way. She was almost defeated because the “best medical system” in the world turned their backs on her.
Your sincere and compassionate help was more than we could have asked for and it meant the world to Sherry. Please know that your efforts will continue to have a tremendously positive effect on her, and me, as we go forward. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
The Future of Medical Travel
In our emerging collaborative economy, buyers can source from hundreds of countries, not just in their hometown. The greatest value of user-friendly websites like Amazon.com and Airbnb.com is their ability to build trust between strangers to initiate brisk commerce, new friendships and enriching experiences, around the world and in real time.
Imagine learning everything about all the best medical specialists in Guatemala on-line, then making appointments with them, in various languages, instantly confirmed. High-resolution magnetic imaging and panoramic dental x-rays can be shared in the cloud and be available for review by cooperating specialists in different countries before they can even answer the phone. By the way, that phone call is free from anywhere in the world with the app of your choice. These days, anyone with internet access is no longer a word-of-mouth common consumer, but a highly-enabled virtual marketplace collaborator.
What if we had the power to locate the best doctors and dentists, and buy our medical procedures the same way? Patients and associates can participate by sharing actual experiences, to confirm the doctor’s “reputation capital” defining the value of his or her capabilities, experience and dedication.
Everyone wants to be able to depend on a physician who improves your quality of life, dispels your anxiety, cares about your lifestyle changes, gives you excellent advice, and maybe even saves your life. That authentic connection with your doctor benefits you, the patient and the people you love, for years to come.
Welcome to the Guatemala Doctors’ global community medical directory. Take some time to look around, and meet our medical associates, to make an informed choice, and contact the medical providers and personal advocates that are right for you.