Friday, December 14, 2007

Seeing the Doctor

I've had two instances where I saw a doctor here. Once, when a combination of a local bug and a pulled muscle got me wondering if there was something really wrong and just now about the dog bite.  Both were very different from in the US.  The first one was a house visit and cost me about 15 liri (~$50) plus a few dollars for the medicine.  Today I went to the local apothecary store, where Dr. Gonzi holds walk in (and perhaps also appointments) hours.  Friends here and in the US told me to get antibiotics for the dog bite and today it started to swell, so I dropped in.  Even before he took a look at it, he said "you need antibiotics."  I also learned this particular dog has a 'history' so I will stay far from him from now on.  Anyway, this doctor visit was all of 2 liri (~$7) and I only waited 10 minutes.  The medicine cost more and I was able to get it right in the apothecary. I liked him a great deal more than the other doctor, so I will use him in the future if needed.

It's interesting that doctors do both house calls and this low cost clinic-type thing.  The clinic idea in the local pharmacy is a really good idea in my view.  I imagine the doctor really gets to know his local patients through the house visit and the clinic--perhaps even better than the way we come to the doctor's office on an appointment back in the US.

Anyway, no complaints about medical and pharmacy care in Malta.  



Caleb said...

Is Malta's health care subsidized or socialized?

Mary said...

Unsure. Heavily subsidized, I think. There are private hospitals and people do pay. But they pay a fraction of the US costs. People have insurance cards from Malta (suggesting it is socialized). They clearly do not worry about paying a bill for hospitalization the way we would in the US. I don't get the sense, however, that people have long waits to get something done--in fact, people come from elsewhere to get things done here.

I'll ask which one it is. Good question.