Spent the day in the operating rooms with one of my favorite Mexican surgeons, Dr. Gabriel Ramos Orozco. Dr. Ramos is an oncology surgeon with offices in Mexicali (Baja California) and his hometown of San Luis Rio del Colorado in Sonora, Mexico.
In the operating room with Dr. Gabriel Ramos
We spent the day in his hometown – first at the Hospital Santa Margarita, where he performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and then in his offices seeing patients.
Hospital Santa Marta
The hospital itself was a small intimate clinic. The operating rooms were small but well-equipped. We were joined by Dr. Campa, an excellent anesthesiologist and another general surgeon. While the anesthesia equipment was dated, all of the equipment was functional. At one point, the sensors for cardiac monitoring and oxymetry readings malfunctioned but within seconds a backup monitor was attached. (This is a frequent occurrence in most hospitals around the world and the USA because the sensors that connect to the patient with gel are cheap disposable and somewhat fragile.)
There were several monitors dedicated to laparoscopy with good display quality. The operating rooms had ample light and functioned well. Overall the clinic was very clean.
The surgery itself proceeded in classic fashion. The patient was positioned appropriately and safely before being prepped and draped in sterile fashion. Since the surgery itself was of short duration, anti-embolic / DVT prophylaxis was not required but was still applied. (Note: in Mexico, these stockings are of limited utility – and for more lengthy procedures, TEDS or electronic squeezing devices are usually applied.)
The surgery itself was under an hour, with no bleeding or other complications. The patient was then transferred to the post-operative care area for monitored recovery from general anesthesia.
In the clinic
It was an interesting day – because he sees a diverse mix of patients. As a general surgeon, he also operates for many of the classic indications, so there were several patients who saw Dr. Ramos for post-operative visits after appendectomies, cholecystomies (gallbladder removal) and the like. There was also a mix of patients with more serious conditions like colon, testicular and breast cancers. His patients were a cross section of people, from the United States and Mexico alike.
Some of these patients came for the lower cost of treatment here in Mexico, but others came due to the dearth of specialty physicians like oncology surgeons in places like Yuma and Las Vegas. Many of these international patients spoke Spanish, or brought translators with them since Dr. Ramos is primarily Spanish speaking.
Since D. Ramos is not well-known outside of Mexico, many of these patients were referred by word-of-mouth, by former patients, friends and family.
Then it was back to the hospital twice to visit his patient post-operative. She was resting comfortably and doing well. It is this level of service that draws patients to his clinic both here and in central Mexicali.
This winter, Dr. Ramos returns to school so to speak – as he will be spending several months in Barcelona, Spain and Colombia learning new techniques such as uni-port laparoscopy. He will then be able to offer these state-of-the-art treatments to his patients back here at home; whether these patients come from northern Mexico or other parts of the globe.
Highly Recommended: Excellent surgeon with well-coordinated team. However, patients requiring more extensive surgery (large tumor surgeries/ cytoreductive surgery) should request Dr. Ramos perform surgery in the larger Mexicali facilities for better access to advanced and specialized support services like hemodialysis etc. for sicker/ higher risk patients.
However, the level of care was appropriate at this facility for this procedure, which is rated as low-risk. (i.e. generally healthy patient, with straight-forward procedure)