Cruising Cuba: An Experience in Cuban Health Care

I blame the mayonnaise. I should have tossed it as soon as I noticed it had been left out, not made a tuna sandwich with it.


​A few hours later the vomiting began. It didn’t stop. 

An hour later I was prone on the dock, retching into an otherwise clear bay. The marina’s Cuban security  — as well as others who keep an eye on foreigners – investigated my strange position.

Was something wrong? That seemed to be the case.

Had I been drinking? Were they serious?­

Was I ill? Yes, definitely.

An ambulance eventually arrived to haul me to the international clinic, where the doctor on duty gave me something for the vomiting. I began to feel better. Then came the diarrhea. The doctor booked me into the local hospital.

One commodity there’s never a shortage of in Cuba is medical attention. At the hospital the nurse took over. Then another doctor and his assistant. Then the epidemiologist and her assistant, to make sure it wasn´t cholera.

By morning I felt better.  Another doctor.  Another assistant.  A day spent watching baseball on television while exchanging cultural insights with the janitor, who did not have an assistant. The admitting doctor, concerned that I would be alone on the boat, booked me for another night.

After the second night, another epidemiologist and her assistant made extra sure that I didn’t have cholera. Finally, I was discharged. Accounting presented my bill.  Ambulance, two nights in the hospital, private room, meals, anti-emetic drugs, stool culture and supplies.

Total = $0.

Every peso of the bill had been covered by my $3.00/ day health insurance.
Now THAT is socialized medical care. ¡Gracias!

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