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Panama - Hospitals

Despite Panama’s image as a third world country, the hospitals are among some of the best in the region. The larger cities have excellent facilities with both state hospitals and private facilities. The private hospitals can be expensive, although you are able to purchase private medical insurance to cover the costs. The public hospitals are overseen by the social security system and those that pay in to the system are entitled to free healthcare, although the hospitals do have a policy of not turning away those that need help.

Most of the medical staff will speak good English. Many doctors have studies and worked in English speaking countries such as the US and the UK. Doctors at some rural hospitals and clinics are less likely to speak fluent English, but will have a basic knowledge. In very remote areas you will need to travel a fair distance for the nearest hospital or clinic and you will be lucky to find English speaking medical staff.

In Panama City there are many hospitals to choose from and one of the most popular private hospitals is the Punta Pacifica. It is affiliated with Johns Hopkins, which helps to give it that reputation for quality. It is in the heart of the city and it offers the latest technology and innovation in medical treatment. The hospital is more luxurious than you might expect from a medical facility and treatment here without insurance is very expensive. Another option for private health care in Panama is the Clinica Hospital San Fernando. This is affiliated to a number of hospitals in Miami, including the children’s hospital and the Baptist Health Centre. This is the oldest private hospital in the city and there are several smaller clinics in the country which are affiliated to the San Fernando facility.

The Hospital Nacional used to be a women’s hospital. It can take up to 80 patients although there are more than 100 specialists in a variety of fields that are working there. The hospital provides an ambulance service and emergency treatment for US veterans and will accept a number of international health care plans.

The Centro Medico Paitilla is particularly popular with the richer native Panamanians. Most of the doctors here speak English and there is a specialist cancer treatment unit. This hospital also offers private medical insurance and makes use of the latest treatments and technologies for a wide range of disorders.

The largest public hospital in Panama City dates back to the early 18th century. The Hospital Santo Tomas was originally a women’s hospital but began to treat men a few years later. The hospital is divided into sections such as the cancer unit and the children’s unit and these are administered as separate hospitals in their own right. The Santo Tomas is a leading teaching hospital in Panama and other specialist units include plastic surgery, radiology, dermatology and cardiology.

Other cities in Panama also have good medical facilities where you can access both private and public hospitals and English speaking staff. David, for example, has four main hospitals. There is the Sociable Safety Healthcare unit which is run by the government and is mainly used by native Panamanians who are not covered by private health care or the social security system. This is also the hospital to visit if you should be bitten by a snake, as they are known for holding large stocks of anti-venom. The Chiriqui medical centre is used mainly by American expats. They offer an insurance plan which is considered to be low-cost which is popular with expats in the city. The Mae Lewis medical centre is a private hospital and this is also popular with the expats. The Youngster & Maternal Wellness Hospital was donated to Panama by the authorities in Taiwan and is a popular public hospital.

The hospitals in Panama can treat the vast majority of illnesses and injuries. It is unlikely that you will need to be taken to another country for medical treatment but this is an option if you prefer it. It should be noted that your medical insurance in Panama is unlikely to cover you for this unless you have specifically requested it so this could be an expensive option.

Useful Resources

Hospital Punta Pacifica
Boulevard Pacífica y Vía Punta Darien
Ciudad de Panama
Email: info@hpp.com.pa
Tel.: (507) 204 8000
Fax: (507) 204 8010

Hospital Nacional
Avenida Cuba
Entre Calles 38 y 39
Ciudad de Panama
Tel: (507) 207 8100

Hospital Amador Guerror
Cl. 10 y Paseo Gorgas
Tel: (507) 441 5151

Hospital de Chepo
Panama City
Tel: (507) 296 7211

Hospital Santo Tomas
Calle 37 Este
Panama City

Boquete Hospice and Health Foundation (BHHF)

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

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