In Cuenca, many, through getting to know the local expat community, which is easy if you can say hello. Watch Gringo Post- Ecuador and see all the posts for activities including recommendations for Drs, etc. The local community has given me many recommendations.
'learn Spanish'. Come on. Even if someone studied for 2-3 years to learn, they most likely don't have the competency to handle medical terminology that might be needed to express your previous medical history accurately. Sure you can express 'my stomach hurts', 'here'. But something as specific as healthcare sure you would like to have an English speaker if you have a choice. If you dont have an English speaking doctor then spending $10-$15 on a translator to help might be worth it as well.
"Learn Spanish, come on" ? I took a course in Spanish at the Catholic university in Quito 7 years ago. I practice and use my Spanish every day. I go to the doctor's office and we communicate in Spanish. If you do not want to learn it, stay back in Canada, the USA or wherever else you come from. Do not be the stereotype of the "Ugly American".
"Knowing" Spanish, or any other language, as MantaTiger implies, is merely to be acquainted with it at some level of competency.
Whether it is your nominal ability to grok Spanish or theirs with English, I think it wisher to put a premium on any doctor's underlying training and experience.
Even with your "native" English, communication with a native English speaking Doc, diagnosis is a terribly subtle business. Having taught Medical English to Turkish Docs, I've found that if YOU really know the accurate technical terminology you'll do OK, because docs with modern training can often read English very good, having had English medical books. But then, that implies your own medical competency.
What I've found in Ecuador is that the Doctors, and especially the Cuban ones, are VERY good at observational diagnosis (such as would be needed for children, and for vets with pets), probably due to a lack of access to technology and the (over?) reliance on testing in the US.
Bottom line: look for docs with deep, pertinent experience, and who are good listeners. Especially younger ones will be excessively proud of their own (in fact) weak English, and may be too focused on showing that off to listen to your complaint and properly handle it.
There is an upcoming medical center-coworking called Bloom located in Gran Colombia 12-22 y Tarqui (Cuenca´s Downtown), currently we work with one general phisycian (she works with nutrion and metabolism), two Neuropsicologists (Studied in Cuba and Argentina), one ginecologist and one neurologist (sub especialized in movement disorders and headache in Brazil), all of our staff speaks english. For more information please contact me.
After ten years in and out of Ecuador going to GP's and Cardio's no problem. In many ways the care is better in Ecuador. Even with no Spanish.
The pantomime bit is usually enough. Imagine a mime (improv) in the doctor's office saying (thu gesture) that he had been up all night, no sleep, vomiting. Then pointing at his stomach and grimacing as though in pain.
> "Learn Spanish, come on" ? I took a course in Spanish at the Catholic university in Quito 7 years ago. I practice and use my Spanish every day. I go to the doctor's office and we communicate in Spanish. If you do not want to learn it, stay back in Canada, the USA or wherever else you come from. Do not be the stereotype of the "Ugly American".
I'm sorry but that is nonsense. As another poster said, basic communicative spanish is fine for an upset stomach, headaches, but something more refined is just not everyday use in the street Spanish. There are slight differences when a Dr is trying to analyse you for more complicated health problems. If you are ill and in a bad way, having to understand complicated medical terms that in many instances do not translate well that you have never heard before is going to be problematic and if a fluent English speaking Dr is available will just make everything that much easier.
It is nothing to do with refusing to learn the language for everyday use, general communication.
If someone cannot / doesn't want to learn the language and is happy living in a little English speaking bubble, what does it matter.
That was precisely the first thought that crossed my mind.
I rarely "speak" English anymore. That's not to say that my Spanish is totally flawless - it's not - but neither my wife, family, neighbors, or most of the people I come in contact with here, speak English. Contacts with doctors and dentists have all been in Spanish, although a couple of doctors knew some rudimentary English and I had one dentist who studied in Italy and wanted to practice his Italian with me.
If you have prior medical issues that you would need to communicate to a doctor here, maybe you should write them down and have them translated. Many smartphones have translator apps. I don't know how good they are, as I've never used them, but I have used Google Translate and Babel when necessary.
Point is, don't expect everyone to be able to speak English but if you make an effort to communicate, I am sure that you'll be able to succeed. Six years ago, when my Spanish wasn't all that great ( just ask my wife ), I was able to go to the Opthomalical Hospital where no one spoke English, and got through all the tests and have cataract surgery with a lens implant with absolutely no problems.
If you make the effort to communicate with people in their native language, - no matter how good or poor your language skill - people will be patient, helpful, and will understand.
Don't be afraid to try but don't think that most educated people speak English here. Just like people in the U.S. had to take a foreign language in high school and college ( at least back in the Dark Ages when I went to school ), kids here are taught English and other foreign languages in school ( my step-granddaughter is learning Chinese and English), when they graduate, just like the rest of us, they promptly forget all they learned - particularly when they don't use it.
Let me tell you nay sayers how important it is to learn Spanish, especially if you have medical problems. About 2 years ago, I posted the following story. There was a gringo couple who posted various questions about Ecuador on this forum, Among them was a question about learning Spanish. I answered that it would be a good idea, especially since that they had quite a few medical probems, including Type 1 Diabetes, pulmonary problems and cardiac arrythmias . Well, lo and behold, they temporarily moved into my building. Never bothered even to try and learn Spanish. I would help them to make doctors appointments and also go with them to translate. This went on for about 8 months. I kept on beeseching them to take some courses in Spanish, to no avail. Anyway, one night the husband had a heart attack, the wife tried calling for help, but of course got no one who spoke English. Meanwhile the husband passed away. For what its worth don't tempt fate. They speak Spanish here, not English!
I cant agree with you more on your post re english speaking medical professionals ! Im a medical professional from the states, came speaking limited spanish. I soon discovered my limited conversational spanish did not suffice. I would not trust my care to any doctors or medical professionals who I cannot communicate with or who cannot understand me. The quality of your care depends on mutual understaning between doctors and patients. You are correct it goes without saying that English is not universally spoken as a second language here in Ecuador. Thise who refuse to learn spanish are putting their health care in danger. One cannot depend on the assistance of others to assist in their healthcare . Yes there are a few doctors who do speak english but they are not the norm also most are in private practice so dont come believing you will find bilingual doctors in the national healthcare system. Your life can depend on your ability to communicate in spanish.
GringoinQuito I chose not to respond back in Jan to your insulting comments. You dont know me, you dont know how much Spanish I know or use. I am far from an ugly expat, quite the opposite. I never said not to learn, I never said to stay in a bubble. You really need to be less judgemental. My suggestion was for health care purposes, it might be worth having a translator. And sorry just 2-3 years of Spanish will not allow you to understand the doctor completely and when it comes to your health, wouldn't you want to understand 100% the specifics? Or yes, have an English speaking doctor is easier. Why not if you can. You go to markets or grocery stores right? Why, cause it is easier than growing all your own food or cattle. So if you can use an English speaking doctor if there is one... why not. Learn Spanish, become part of the culture, enjoy what Ecuador has to offer. Also realize that some have more trouble than others learning a language. And sure shop in the centro markets where no one speaks English, but in the case of your personal health, choose the best solution for the best care. And that may include an English speaking doctor.
MantaTiger, I guess you didn't read my post about the gringo dying because his wife could not communicate his problem to the authorities. In my view, if you have health problems. living in a foreign country where English is not the language and not wanting to learn the language, is pretty irresponsible if you want to stay alive, Also, not wanting to learn the language is disrespectful, in my view. Anyone can learn if they really want to and put the effort in to learn.
Helpful for medical apts. Bring a written report of your reason for visit and symptoms and your needs translated into spanish also include past case history and meds. Use your phone or computers translater then print it out to take with you.
There are several in Quito, most at Hospital Metropolitano. I'm sure that there are some in Cuenca as well, since that city has become a Haven for gringo expats. There are a couple of groups on Facebook, Ecuador Expats, and Ecuador Expats in Quito, that you should try- the members often have recommendations based on personal experience.
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