Last March, when Noah was seriously ill, I learned about a doctor here in Salta who both makes house calls and treats extraneros (foreigners). That is, not every doctor here will treat you if you don't have obras sociales, health insurance.
This is a good option. You will receive solid, compassionate health care from a doctor who -- certainly in our case -- is thorough and takes time to answer all questions. We felt heard and never once felt rushed.
Another option I recently learned after returning to Salta with some sort of cold that got worse, then my throat started hurting. A cough set in. I tried all my herbal remedy tricks, but ultimately realized I needed something stronger.
This time, I visited Santa Clara de Asis hospital in Salta city center. Santa Clara is a private hospital with a clinic located on the first floor.
What's the intake procedure?
You walk in and immediately go to the desks at the right for an intake. There, someone will ask what you want. You simply say to see a doctor. You will also pay for your visit here. Then, you take your receipt, walk through the blue doors at the back left of the lobby and wait for your name to be called.How did the doctors visit go?
He called me in, asked my complaints. One look at my throat later, he diagnosed me with pharyngitis and wrote out a prescription for penicillin. I was given a choice of either pills or a one shot does. I went for the shot.
I filled the prescription at a pharmacy on the same block, open 24 hours. Apparently, the pharmacy also has a nurse on hand to administer shots at times. Since the nurse was not available at the pharmacy that Saturday morning, I returned to the hospital for a nurse to do it.
How long will the whole process take?
I visited on a Saturday afternoon. Things were calm, not at all busy and I waited a total of 30 minutes for the doctor. The doctor visit took about 15 minutes. I also waited in line 20 minutes at the pharmacy to fill my antibiotic prescription then waited again 20 minutes at the hospital for the nurse to give me the shot.
Altogether, about 90 minutes. Much faster than I expected, although I cannot vouch for how long things will take during a more busy time.
How much will it cost?
Cost of Consulation: 55 pesos
Antibiotics: 30 pesos
Antibiotics administration: 10 pesos (yes, I had to pay for this separately)
Total cost: Approximately 23 dollars.
Chances are your doctor will only speak Spanish -- called castellano in Argentina -- but Salteños tend to be very patient and are more than willing to repeat or try a different method of communication until you understand.
Don't hesitate to ask for clarification. Don't worry about feeling stupid or annoying the doctor. This is your health. It's far more important to make sure the communication is clear.
Some Vocabulary Words To Help You Along
- Doctor -- Medico
- Nurse -- Enfermera
- Antiobiotics -- Antiobioticas
- Basic list of body parts.
- Pain -- Dolores
- Fever -- Fiebre.
- Counting to 100
Remember, Argentina temperature works in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, so it's not a bad idea to know the basic conversion before you go.
Santa Clara de Asis Hospital Privado
Address: Urquiza 954 (off the corner of Jujuy)
Tel: 0387-4321440 or 4321441
Hours: Clinic open 24 hours/ 7 days
If you find yourself here in Salta sick and stuck, please feel free to send me an e-mail with questions or anything else. I am also more than happy to accompany you to the hospital. Plenty of people have gone out of their way for our benefit. I appreciate the opportunity to pass along the kindness we've received.
Photo courtesy of Yadnammmm.