With the exception of this post, I haven’t really written much about this on the blog. About a month ago I had major surgery. Despite a slight set back today, I’ve been doing fine. My recovery went much smoother and was faster than I had anticipated, and I returned to work last Monday. More than anything, this whole experience has made me realize how fortunate I am. I have a supportive family and my mom even came from the US to take care of me. I have good health insurance and was able to have surgery in a very nice private clinic in Santiago, Clinica Indisa. I am young, which means that my body could heal that much faster. And last, but not least, I am so fortunate that I had an excellent doctor.
My experience with medical professionals in Chile has not been excellent. I went to a orthopedist who told me (without any tact) that the problem with my knees was just because I was overweight and had little or nothing to do with hiking in Torres del Paine. My resulting physical therapist called me by my middle name during the entire ten sessions despite the fact that I told her multiple times that my name was Abby. This illustrates what I find to be the biggest problem with doctors in Chile: lack of bedside manner.
Dr. Sebastián Prado by no means suffers from this affliction. Not only is he an excellent doctor, he is NICE. During my initial appointment with him, he gave me his personal cell phone number and told me to call him at any time. He told me that no question was too stupid to ask. He took the time to explain the surgery in detail, and even drew me little pictures to help me understand. When there was a problem with my mom’s flight, I called and asked if we could reschedule the surgery. He had absolutely no problem. He spoke English with my mom. After the surgery, when he was filling out my discharge papers, he told my mom and I that the best part of his job is helping people, and seeing them happy after they are recovered from surgery. He reiterated that I could call him at any time, even though he was going to be on vacation the next week. And today, when I violently sneezed and I had sudden pain in the incision area, I called Dr. Prado (on a Saturday) and he calmly explained that everything was going to be fine and told me what to do (rest and take pain meds).
Hopefully more Chilean doctors will learn from Dr. Prado’s example. There is way more to being a good doctor than the practical training. Of course I want a doctor who has the proper education and experience, but when it comes down to it, a doctor who is caring and understanding is just as important to me.