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Having spent 35 years working in laboratories in the U. S. I was I curious about the laboratory testing in Panama, and Boquete in particular. I've used two laboratories in town, and spoken with my doctors about their concerns or recommendations. The following are suggestions for those of you who are used to laboratories in the U. S., there are differences. In the U.S. when you get your blood drawn, or drop off a specimen, you are asked to identify the labels they will place on your specimens. Name, birthdate, ID number of some sort. Then the date and time are written on the specimen. This label is basically a UPC code. With few exceptions, all analyzing equipment in the U. S. simply reads the barcode, sees what tests are ordered, mechanically opens the tube, analyzes, then sends the results to a computer where a human reviews abnormal results and repeats any abnormals. The technologists barely touch the tube other than to assure there is sufficient sample. This is because of OSHA, who forced labs to reduce exposure to AIDS and hepatitis, etc. Normal results are released with no review and go straight into the patient's record. So, for most laboratory testing, it is extremely hard to get incorrect results, as long as you verify your OWN name. Many of the procedures I'm describing here have been in use for the last 25 years. I was a manager at LabCorp in Houston, we received over 50,000 test tubes each day. We had to use these techniques or there would have been no way to type each name in before we even began the testing process. Americans do a LOT of labs. Now, I'll compare with Panama. First, let me assure you, their equipment is relatively modern. Equipment I used in smaller hospitals and labs. Here, they simply do not add on the barcode readers, computer interfaces, automatic test tube openers, and other "safety" and convenience items . The tests procedures are the same. Glucoses are glucoses, the same chemical reagents as are used anywhere in the world. So, why do you care? It comes to two things I've observed. No one asks your name, just scribble it on in light pencil or ink. They also use test tubes here that do not allow for the blood specimens to have the luxury of sitting on the counter, untested, for more than an hour. A glucose that isn't tested within an hour will quickly degrade from very high, to normal or even low. Other analytes, such as potassium will go higher the longer they sit. I cannot confirm the tests here aren't run in a timely manner, but will tell you, my fasting blood sugar has been 105-110 for years. Here, my glucose was reported 76, and surprisingly, that was nearly exactly the same value my husband got that day. Our A1Cs were also identical, mine low for the first time in years. The problem, no doubt, our specimens were misidentified. So, I recommend these three basic things you can do proactively. Ask to confirm the names on your specimens before they leave your sight. NEVER have your labs done on the same day as your relatives with the same last name, if you can avoid it. Look at your results as soon as possible, the same day is best. If anything looks odd for your history, ask them to repeat it, either with the old blood they saved in their refrigerator for 5 days, or ask to be redrawn and retested. The last advice, always drink plenty of water before going in for fasting blood tests. Often they will tell you , nothing by mouth, when water is not only allowed it is necessary to find your veins easily. Black coffee and sugarless tea are also acceptable. I hope to update this after visiting the laboratories located in the David hospitals. They may be altogether different.
Greetings Group, Okay, we're changing things up a bit. I am looking for contact information for the best hernia surgeon in Chiriqui. I welcome any and all recommendations, experiences, of yourselves and others that you know. If you were to have surgery for a hernia today, who would you want for your surgeon??? Thank you once again for your warm reception, and if you are ever on Ruta Sur, heading to/from Boquete to/from Volcan, stop by Lita's Hostal, located near Cuesta de Piedra, and say "hey". Kind Regards, Fred
LaurenLake posted a topic in Health and Health Care, Special Care Facilities (Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, etc.)I've looked on this site and Ning and can't find any details on where/how to get an annual physical exam. A couple of posts suggest that Hospital Chiriquí does a great one if you sign up for their insurance plan, but we already have insurance. Any idea about where to make an appointment? Cost?