Following surgery at Hospital Alamater, we proceed to the Hospital General de Mexicali. This is the largest public facility in Mexicali, and is surprisingly small. After a recent earthquake, only three floors are currently in use, with the two remaining upper floors undergoing demolition for repair after earthquake-related damage. The facility is old and dated, and it shows. There are ongoing construction projects and repairs throughout the facility.
On the medical and surgical floors there are dormitory style accommodations with three patients in each room. Sandwiched across from the nursing station are several rooms designated as ‘Intermediate’ care. These rooms are full with patients requiring a higher level of care, but not needing the intensive care unit which is located downstairs adjacent to the operating theater.
The intensive care unit itself is small and crowded with patients. There are currently five patients, all intubated and in critical condition. Equipment is functional and adequate but not new, with the exception of hemodynamic monitors. There is no computerized radiology (all films are printed and viewed at bedside.)
We visit several post-operative patients upstairs on the surgical floors, and talk with the patients at length. All of the patients are doing well, including several patients who were hospitalized after holiday-related trauma (stabbing with chest and abdominal injuries.) The floors are busy with internal medicine residents and medical students on rounds.
Despite it’s unattractive facade, and limited resources – the operating room is similar to operating rooms across the United States.. Some of the equipment is older, or even unavailable (Dr. Ochoa brings his own sterile packages of surgical instruments for cases here.) However, during a case at the facility – all of the staff demonstrate appropriate knowledge and surgical techniques. The anesthesiologist invites me to look over his shoulder (so to speak) and read through the chart..
Since respiratory therapy and pulmonary toileting is such an important part of post-operative care of patients having lung surgery – we stopped in to check out the Respiratory department. I met with Jose Luis Barron Oropeza who is the head of Respiratory Therapy. He graciously explained the therapies available and invited me to the upcoming symposium, which he is chairing. (The symposium for respiratory therapy in Mexicali is the 18th thru the 20th of this month. If anyone is interested in attending, send me an email for further details.)
After rounding on patients at the General Hospital – despite the late hour (it is after midnight) we make one more stop, back at the Hospital Alamater for one last look at his patients there. Dr. Ochoa makes a short stop for some much-needed food at a small taco stand while we make plans to meet the next morning.
Due to the limitedavailable resources, I wouldn’t recommend this facility for medical tourists. However, the physicians I encountered were well-trained and knowledgeable in their fields.