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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Clinic Update!

I must admit, I don't like going to hospitals or doctor's appointments. My last visit to see one was when my cat (Nathan) scratched me about a year ago. I'm glad that I did go then because my arm got infected and it was quickly caught and cured. However, despite having medical insurance here in Uruguay, I have been very bad at taking advantage of any preemptive health care services. This is foolish because with my insurance and the excellent health care here, there is no excuse not to avail myself of this care.

What actually, got me to go recently to our local medical clinic was not the 3 separate new things wrong with me, ranging from a bent finger, some lady issues and a sore shoulder but the fact that we have started to watch the recently ended TV series "HOUSE, MD"starring Hugh Laurie. For some reason when the show was in vogue, a big hit (for 8 years), we never watched it. Now that it's over, we have just gotten 8 seasons worth of these medical drama/comedy shows and are hooked. Watching the medical mystery show with its sarcastic, egotistical doctor going about treating someone new per show several times each week, got me to admit, it was high time that I should go to a doctor and address my new problems.

Reception room at the MEDICA URUGUAYA Salinas clinic
Salinas, the next town over from me just got a new MEDICA URUGUAYA CLINIC building. It was built (less than a year ago) and the new building is pictured above. The clinic originally was located in Salinas proper. It moved from Julieta Ave. the town's main street to out on the main highway. It's now next to another clinic named Clinica Español, a rival mulista or hospital group association ( ??HMO). What's interesting is that my husband was thinking about switching to that one (Español) not only because their healthcare is notably well spoken of but it is also slightly cheaper in payments a month (so far). However, we found out something very interesting, at least for us, which halted our decision to change to this other medical association's group.

In the clinic 2 signs prohibiting smoking and drinking Mate!
As most of you regular readers know, my husband and I are Jehovah's Christian Witnesses. That means that besides going to weekly meetings at our Congregation and preaching, often from door to door (which yes, some people find annoying and others don't), we are also people who stay away from Blood products whether additions into food like blood sausages etc... or Blood Transfusions. No vampires in our religion!  Staying away from eating blood can be easily done by reading labels or asking questions like, why is it called "Black pudding" or why is that called "blood sausage"? We base this on scriptural history starting from a command to Noah after leaving the ark allowing him to eat meat but not it's blood, to the Jewish people (Leviticus Chapter 17 verses 12 and 13 ) up to Christians receiving a similar command in the Bible book of Acts Chapter 15 verses 28 and 29. So Wally and I eat meat, yes, it's permitted as a choice in the Bible but we don't eat added blood or meat not properly bled after hunting. All 8 million of Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide follow this standard.

The problem comes about with our strictly following the thought not to add it to our bodies in any way. ***This post is not meant to preach it's just informational in that we found out that the medical association of MEDICA URUGUAYA CLINICA "respects" our stand on BLOODLESS SURGERIES and the Español Clinica does not!!! In fact, we were told the Español clinics get very testy with Jehovah's Witnesses and our desires. That's why when you are most vulnerable after some accident or life threatening illness it's important to know ahead of time which hospital is willing to treat you and respect your wishes and which isn't.

The double picture above was taken from a brochure in the USA from the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle,Washington. They are a hospital that has made great strides in Bloodless surgery which was important for us to know about when we lived in Seattle Washington. The picture used in their brochure is of a dear friend of ours who has an amusing last name, he is Jim Pickle. Swedish hospital did a quadruple heart by-pass surgery on him that was completely bloodless meaning he received NO BLOOD TRANSFUSION during the 5 hour and 5 minute operation! That was back in 1998 and Jim is still alive and well! So such surgeries can be done without Blood transfusions and technics have been pioneered for our use in such situations. I also had an emergency operation once (not heart related) and I too used Zero blood in my operation. So the bottom line is that we are staying with the MEDICA URUGUAYA CLINICA! I'm glad they respect our wishes.

Hospital in Montevideo

We had to go down to Montevideo to that associations' hospital and sign up with a "Solicitud of Afiliación" and get added to the group representing our Faith (our choice). We signed liability wavers.

On the plus side, belonging to a large groups' plan means we will get a few extra benefits that we wouldn't have gotten by just signing up on our own. Of course, it only took us 4 years of enough Spanish to learn all of this just now.

Meanwhile, I finally did go to my local clinic in Salinas to get a blood test (note: going out is okay just not added in!)  and also a urine test. The combo of tests cost about $273 (pesos). An Ultrasound only cost me 57 pesos or about $3 US. Then I was sent to another branch located in the town of Solymar (pass the toll bridge).

That is one place to get X-RAYS taken. The other choice would have been MVD.The cost of the two X-RAYS was $330 (pesos or under $18 total US). The interesting thing is that they are developed while you wait and you get to take them home with you. I will bring them to my next doctors' appointment.

Mammogram information. Since this post has been about medical information I will mention that while we were in Montevideo for our paperwork, I spied a mobile Mammogram unit. I've seen the giant trailer before, parked across the street from the Tres Cruces Mall but this time I went in to check it out.  It was commissioned to promote the fight against Cancer by offering FREE Mammograms (mamografías) to women over 40. THE SERVICE IS FREE!!!

The prerequisites are : *You have to be over 40, *You can not have had a mammogram during the last 11 months. *You can not be pregnant (no estas embarazado). * You can not be breast feeding/Lactating (no estas amamantando) for the last 6 months. *You can not have a pacemaker (marcapaso).*You can not have any visible breast maladies, nor been operated on for breast cancer.*You can not have breast prothesis/implants as this would interfere with the diagnostic. If you do have prior mammogram results bring these with you. Bring your cedula ID. If you don't fulfill these prerequisites you will not receive a mammogram!

Mobile Mammogram Unit parked across from Tres Cruces Mall
The day and time for this service is Monday through Friday from 1:00PM till 5:00pm (EL lunes hasta viernes de 13 a 17 horas),  You can make an appointment by calling the Telephone number 2409 40 68 or  2409 43 66 Another unit is often located in front of City Hall (Intendencia, MVD). You can find these mobile units 6 months out of the year in these locations.

An interesting thing to note however, is that a sign painted on the rear of the trailer mentions a name some of you might have heard about, that of The "Late" Reverend SUN MOON. He was a very controversial character. He was Korean and had followers known by some as "Moonies", He did not believe Jesus was a saviour, rather he proclaimed himself, the Messiah and humanities savior. He was known for his odd mass group weddings (often of virtual strangers to each other). For example, in 1982 he performed a mass marriage ceremony for some 2075 couples all at once, this was held in Madison Square Garden, New york, USA (a sports arena).  He was also known for his business empire and controlling interests in many newspapers in several countries, including Washington DC (USA), Argentina and one here in Uruguay. He liked to make a name for himself and his church by supporting non-profit organizations. I didn't see any religious tracts inside the trailer, Whew! I just found it interesting that somewhere along the way, he and his wife donated this Cancer detection service to Uruguay and it's women.


Anonymous said...

I am happy to learn you found a hospital group able to give you the kind of treatment you desire and that you were able to find out this information.

I do so very much appreciate all the very valuable information and interesting 'discoveries' that you both have been gracious enough to share on your blog. You will have given me a big head start and made things so much easier to understand when I am finally able to move to UY.

Thank you.

Seamus said...


I had some small awareness of the Witness' beliefs about blood, and I had a passing awareness that there were techniques for minimizing the amount of blood used in certain medical procedures. But I had no idea that there were these bloodless surguries or that the Uruguyan medical community was so sensitive on the subject. It shouldn't have surprised me because I've noticed articles about other topics where Uruguay is quite aware on many social issues.

Thank you, Denise!

Fabiàn D. 1972 said...

About the moonies....that organization was very powerful a few years ago in Uruguay,not because it had many religious followers but because they owned many companies and even one of the biggest banks of the country

Nowadays they dont have so big economic importance,,but they had a bank, a newspaper, the first 5 star hotel in Montevideo, a printing company, fishery investments and they even tried to have their own private port in Cerro ,in MOntevideo,but that plan couldnt be done.