Medical Treatment in the DR
Choosing the right doctor in the DR is very important, so be sure to ask several people about who they recommend or their feedback on one
you are contemplating. If you ever get medical advice that shocks you I.e. that a condition you have is far more serious than what you
expected, then make sure you get a second or third opinion before taking the prescribed medicine or treatment. The old rule is “if it sounds too good to be true, then it normally is!”. In our NPN business Directory you can find GP’s, however it just depends on where you are located whether they will be suitable.
Insurance here is relatively inexpensive, however if you believe that you will have very few smaller medical problems in a year, then maybe
it can pay just to ensure yourself for emergencies or health issues that would cost over a certain amount for that treatment, and then take
care of paying yourself for smaller treatments I.e. blood tests, urine tests etc….
Choosing the right hospital is again very crucial, as some have doctors who are brilliant and others some that are known to have made patients health much worse, caused deaths or simply just trying to keep you in there with ongoing tests and treatments to make as much money from you as possible. The ones to quickly get out of, are the ones that try to avoid being clear about their prices are, or their recommendations are far fetched. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask what it’s going to cost based on various possible treatment scenarios – if they find questions uncomfortable, then it’s normally because they are unqualified or up to tricks to make money from you. Especially be careful with some of the private hospitals, as they are known for conducting bad practice and retain incompetent staff. Follow your instincts!
Emergencies and Ambulances:
In case of emergencies, be prepared that before hospitals will treat you, they will demand that you or someone who’s with you, will cover
the bill for the operation/s and treatment. Be aware that the Dominican Republic is not a welfare state, so don’t expect that you will be “rescued” unless they know they’ll get paid for their work and materials – to them it’s their direct income when you pay. On the North Coast – here’s one number for an ambulance service: 809-412-5555 but ask around for more numbers when it’s clear where you are going to reside.
Preventing Accidents and Illnesses:
* Touching sea life and corral: Be careful not to touch any sea life or corrals when you are either swimming, snorkeling or diving, as the sea life here are not all just harmless gold fish. Many fish and sea urchins have poisonous spikes and others will attack if provoked. Also be careful where you step as many tourists or locals here have had very painful foot or leg surgeries getting long black spikes taken out from the local sea urchins that crawl along the bottom, especially near rocks and reef.
* Chose a clean beach: Unfortunately many Dominicans are under-educated in regards to protecting the environment and themselves. Many throw rubbish, glass bottles and other objects wherever they finish with their drinks and snacks. So stepping on broken glass, syringes or sharp metal objects are always a risk in such a beach.
* Watch out for unsafe objects: In the DR, the safety standards are much lower than in I.e. Europe, USA etc… which means one always have to use ones awareness and instinct. It’s not unusual to fall or drive into a deep hole because no-one cared about covering it up with a safe lid! Watch “live” electrical wires or exposed panels in commercial buildings, homes, from street posts or hanging down from above. Also you’ll find that trades people in the DR can be very sloppy by leaving metal wires or other materials sticking out from lamp posts etc… Sharp edges are rarely thought of as dangerous, so be careful about what’s around you in this regards I.e. glass table with unpolished edges etc… Be careful of slippery tiles! Only recently you’ll find a few tiles coated with “slip proof” surfaces, but as these cost more and because some of the unsafe tiles often are better looking, then these often end up in bathrooms, on stairs etc… and once wet they become lethal to walk on.
* Beware of poor electrics: One thing to check if you either rent or buy a place here is the size of the breakers used for power points, various appliances as well as the general set-up of the property’s wiring. Many toddlers here have been electrocuted to death because there was either no breaker in place or the breakers “Amp’s” where too high to cut off the power in time, when these little toddlers got curious and stuck metal objects into power outlets. Maybe get a highly recommended foreign electrician to check your panel and breakers before moving in (especially if you have small children).
* Swimming pools and kids: Every year hundreds of children drown in pools in the DR. Be aware that safety fences are still not seen hardly anywhere, and it’s not required by law either. So always have an adult accompanying the child in the pool. Many of the drownings actually happen when parents assume that because there are plenty of people in the pool, then “surely someone will save little Julie if she’s in trouble”, however busy pool activity and noise often drown out cries for help or a child who suddenly “goes under” – so since you love your children be responsible and get off the sunbed to protect them in the water or live with a lifetime of regrets! (Parents do your resting at the hotel or at your home!)
* Unpredictable drivers /accidents: Over here they say you need eyes in your neck as well to survive on the roads. Dominicans and Haitians typically live life on the edge every day, so when driving don’t be surprised to encounter people overtaking in the most insane moments. They are also well known for ramming the brake on without any care for what’s coming from behind. Motorbike drivers have literally been beheaded hitting the back of trucks who suddenly braked or parked out on the road, so either overtake them or keep your distance! Then you’ll also find people pulling out from “no-where” or many egocentric motorbike drivers drive on their rear wheels, and this also caused many accidents. At night be careful as 90% of drivers here won’t be bothered lowering their headlights for you even when you flick
your high beam at them – this is dangerous as now you can’t see all the motor bikes who are heading in your direction who mostly don’t have
any rear lights or pedestrians walking on the roadside in pitch darkness thinking they are walking reflectors!
* Potholes and animals: Be careful of the many potholes on the roads here, especially when you’re on a motorbike or even worse when on a
scooter with small wheels, as they sink deeper into the pot hole and can cause you to have a nasty crash. Also be aware of the many animals
running loose both during day light and through the night. If you travel at a high speed whether on straight or windy roads, it’s quite
possible to ram into a donkey, cow, horse or other animal running loose.
* Cacti and Plants: Be careful about which plants you or your children touch here, as some of them will give you a nasty skin rash or
prickle you with poisonous spikes. Also watch what berries your children consume as some are definitely not for eating. The cactus in the pictures above can damage your eyes as they have poisonous milk (Pencil Cactus and Euphorbia candelabrum).
Category: DR Living |