JUNE 2015 Edition

Volcan Hospital;
 a healthy addition for the Highlands

In this edition:

Volcan Hospital, a healthy addition to life in the Highlands.

Good Bye Gringo - welcome ESR


Health Care in the Highlands





Please scroll down below Hospital story

By David Dell & Lynn Gohman

Opened in April 2014 at a cost of $10.5 million dollars, this 24 bed hospital with 8,283 square meters of construction is still ramping up toward its full capacity.   It serves the Metro Volcan area of 22,000 people, including Cerro Punta, Paso Ancho and Volcan's 5 districts.

In the Panamanian health system there are four levels of hospital care; The Volcan hospital is a level 2 facility which means it provides X-ray, Ultra-sound, Mammography, Physiotherapy, a laboratory, dentistry and obstetrics, however, it is not structured to handle major surgery. A new level 4 hospital is scheduled to open in Concepcion (30 kilometers south of Volcan) that will have all the features you would expect in any fully functioning North American hospital such as CT scans, MRI's and an oncology department.

In the ten months since Volcan's hospital has opened it has already handled over 10,000 patients, this includes over 275 expectant mothers. The hospital currently has a staff of 5 Doctors, 10 nurses and 3 dentists. In addition it has 1 X-ray technician, a psychologist, a social worker and a child stimulation therapist. As the hospital ramps up to its full potential more staff will be employed.

There is an emergency entrance and trauma facility where patients are stabilized and then later transported to other hospitals for additional surgery or further treatment. This is a great advantage to heart attack victims.  Previously, heart patients had a frantic 45 minute drive down winding mountain roads to either Concepcion or David.

The rooms are neat, clean and in most cases just a few beds to each room.

Any English Speaking Resident (ESR) can be treated here - all you need is to register in the service center in the main hall at  the service desk.

Great care has been taken to make the children's section as un-intimidating as possible. The walls of the rooms are beautifully decorated with animal motifs and one room even features a space theme with stars, asteroids and a space shuttle.

Pictured above the children's ward with stars, asteroids and space shuttles.

There are 2 dentistry sections

There is ample parking on the East and South sides of the building. The hospital is located a few hundred meters from the main Volcan-Cerro Punta road

There is a cafeteria for visitors just to the left of the main building.

I have visited many hospitals throughout the world from first world to third world, Volcan's hospital is definitely first world. The staff is friendly and helpful and English is widely spoken. Currently it operates from Monday to Friday 7 till 3 pm.

You can reach the hospital by calling: 771-4348 or 771-4342.

Goodbye Gringo Hello ESR's

By David Dell

Volcan, June 2015

"Give a dog a bad name" so the saying goes, so  isn't it about time that we of the expat/gringo community gave ourselves a better name. Ex-pat could possibly denote that we are "no longer" patriotic and gringo has for centuries had bad connotations.

According to WIKIPEDIA, the term "gringo" first surfaced in 1787 in the Diccionario castellano con las voces de Ciencias y Artes y sus correspondientes en las 3 lenguas francesa, latina e italiana (Castilian Dictionary including the Words of the Sciences and the Arts, and their Correspondents in 3 Languages: French, Latin, and Italian, 1787), by Terreros y Pando, wherein it is defined as: Gringos is what, in Malaga, they call foreigners who have a certain type of accent that prevents them from speaking Castilian easily and naturally; and in Madrid they give the same name, and for the same reason, in particular to the Irish.

Famous wildlife painter, John Woodhouse Audubon and his party were called "Gringoes" while travelling through Cerro Gordo, Veracruz. This he reported in his Western Journal of 1849-1850. This appears to be the first recorded account of the term gringo in the English language.

According to Samuel  Johnson "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." As a result, certain groups resort to Anti-patriotism . For many we have chosen to live here in Panama because the weather in our home country is cold, wet, miserable and downright awful. Many, have strangely become patriotic about our new home here in Chiriqui - they fly the flags of this great province proudly from the dashboards of their cars - so they are still patriotic, but for a different country.

Recently I heard from some friends that our venerable Volcan doctor, Dr. Vega, said he thought we should call ourselves (the English speaking community) "English Speaking Residents" or ESR's for short. I think that is short, sweet and definitely non-perjorative so I would like to thank our doctor for bringing a new term into the English language.

So in future this publication will use the term ESR (English Speaking Resident) in all of our articles.