Emergency Medicine in Argentina

Kevin and Cathy got to the hotel before I arrived in the van. An ambulance was already waiting for me. An EMT and two orderlies were in attandance. They wheelchaired me up to my room so I could remove my riding clothes and empty my bladder. We then drove quickly a few blocks to a small hospital/clinic.

We were quickly seen by a clinician, while others continued to wait outside her office. She examined my ankle, noted the swelling and tested the range of motion. An x-ray was ordered and Tad, who acted as translator, and David wheeled me down to the radiology exam room. A tech soon appeared and helped me onto the table. Anterior to Posterior (AP) and Lateral xrays were taken. He developed them and said everything was ok, but wanted another Lat view. He came back and said he was sorry and wheeled me to the 1st doctor’s office, where the films were displayed. She felt the third film showed a fracture.

An orthopedic doctor was called and looked at the film and concurred. He said that my ankle needed to be immobilized and to be x-rayed again in five days to determine if it displaced. He wrote a prescription for a pain killer, anti-inflamatory, plastic cast and crutches. Seems the clinic didn’t have any drugs or supplies and we were responsible for going out and obtaining them.

Tad and Cathy went in search of the supplies and drugs. They came back in half an hour with aluminum crutches and plaster of Paris. Seems that nobody in a town of 40,000 had plastic ankle casts. They never got to a pharmacy. We went to the ortho’s office with our supplies for the casting. The doctor spread a plastic sheet on his desk and threw the plaster packs in a five gallon pail of water. I lay face down on his exam table and he applied the cast and wrapped it in tape. We paid the doctor in cash and took a taxi back to the hotel.

Drugs- 40 pesos, Crutches & cast materials- 192 p, Dr – 200 p, cab back to hotel  – 15  p. X-rays – 10 p, ambulance & clinic – 200p,  Total expense – $187 US.

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2 Responses to “Emergency Medicine in Argentina”

  1. Dale and Cindy Leppo says:

    To Larry: Get well soon! If you need anything while you are in the US please get in touch with us.
    To Cathy: I am sure that you struggled with your decision, but I would have also chosen to continue on the trip. You will have quite a challenging position to fill, as Larry is a wonderful writer, but we’ll look forward to your updates until Larry is back in the saddle.
    To Both: You are both amazing. Best Wishes.

  2. Angelica Gierl says:

    What a shock! All the very best for Larry – hope to see you both well and kicking in Sydney!!

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