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Late in May 2006, after a delicious meal at a well known restaurant in Casco Viejo, I went home to a restless night’s sleep and some stomach discomfort. By morning, a distinct pain had developed similar to the “upset stomach” I had experienced occasionally after a spicy meal.

My amateur medical self-diagnosis dictated that I stay home and treat the condition with Pepto-Bismol and Alka-Seltzer. Boy, was I ever wrong!


The “bloating” in my upper abdomen progressed during the day and this second night was very bad……..I could not sleep and I grew weary waiting for the “problem” to pass. That second day, I began to suspect that this was more than an upset stomach, perhaps food poisoning……….WRONG!

Long story short, I finally called my family Doc, Jorge Paz Rodriguez and he immediately told me to meet him at Hospital Nacional Emergency room.

By this time the “dolor” was unbelievable. I have NEVER experienced such profound pain in my life…….all I could do was moan and hope it would go away. Dr. Paz took control of the situation, diagnosed acute appendicitis with peritonitis and began calling his colleagues to arrange an immediate operation. Within an hour, I was prepped and wheeled into the operating room………a beautiful angel appeared to tell me “Kevin, I’m here to take the pain away”……at that moment, I fell in love with Dra. Correa de Pichel/Anesthesiologist. She kept her word!

Next thing I knew, I awoke in the intensive care ward with needles and tubes violating my body, but I had returned from the “edge”. Later, at least one of the 4 docs told me that they did not think I was going to make it. The surgeon, Dr Alberto Navarro and his team removed the appendix, cleaned out my guts and stitched me up like new.

After a 3 day stay, I wanted out and convinced my physician to let me go home………big mistake #2. After one day in my apartment, I began to feel uneasy, dehydrated with vomiting and was returned to the hospital for 4 more days. This was all my fault, but hey…….I had made it through the crisis!

Perhaps I will expand on this experience at a later date, but the important points I wish to make are:

1. Hospital Nacional and the doctors knew I had a BUPA International health insurance policy sufficient to cover whatever care/procedures would be needed. In my coverage, even “air evac” to the USA was available if needed. My “catastrophic” limit was sufficient to meet any financial expense, period!

2. My Gold Card would cover the $5,000 deductible, so I did not worry about paying for the consummate professionals and hospital who saved my life. The docs and hospital did not question or worry whether they would be paid and concentrated on fixing my medical emergency.

3. The total bill approached $9,000. My BUPA International health insurance company covered EVERYTHING over the first $5,000. They wired the $$$ to my Panama bank account….no charge!

Although my golf game was seriously affected for a couple of months, I’m back! I lost 25 lbs, feel better than ever. I do not recommend this diet!

I had NEVER expected anything like this to happen, and wish to thank Dr. Paz, Dr. Navarro, Dra. Correa de Pichel, Dr. Duran and all the folks at the hospitals who helped me through this situation. I wish to specifically thank the lovely Yolanda, love of my life…….for staying by my side during the whole ordeal.

For comprehensive private health insurance quotes email: call Kevin 322-1603 or Carmen 322-1605.

Panama Kevin