Life in la Cruz: When Something “Serious” Happens

I’d been pondering an article on La Cruz doctors, but it wasn’t until I had first hand experience that I felt compelled to ‘get it done.’

One of the most-asked questions about living in Mexico is “What if something serious happened medically?” We always reported that the various doctor’s visits we’ve had have been super affordable and attentive but until recently, nothing traumatic has happened to any of our guests or us.

Last week, a regular guest, who is confident in Mexico in general, woke up with a “heavy” ache in her lower back. Having a history of UTI and kidney issues, she was concerned it was her kidney. Hoping it was instead just a sore muscle; she took a hot shower thinking that might help.

Then she asked if I could pick up an antibiotic that had worked for her before. The poor gal, the rest of that day was hell. The pain reached a 10+ and came in waves. In her words: “I was up all night; my entire urinary system was stalled. We called Cindy who, thank God, introduced us to Dr. Ipiña. I was concerned I had kidney stones.

Dr. Ipiña wasn’t convinced. After a thorough consultation, tests, and observation he suggested a CT scan of my abdomen, blood work, and a urinalysis to rule it out (or confirm it). The tests were done in Vallarta, then the doctor met us back in La Cruz at 7:00 pm. Dr Ipiña became extremely concerned by the results; the scan ruled out kidney stones, but tests showed that my white blood count was extremely high; two to four and a half times the normal range. As I hadn’t eaten for two days, and was nauseous and throwing up, he felt strongly that oral antibiotics were not best for this infection and recommended I be admitted to the CMQ Bucerias hospital for IV antibiotics, including nausea and pain medication. There we met Dr. Matilla who alongside Dr. Ipiña stayed with me until 10:00 PM. I’ve never had such personalized care from a physician as from these two. Dr. Ipiña’s English is wonderful and he made a great effort to explain things to us.”

Vicki told me, “All the lab processes were done in compliance with Blood Bourne Pathogen Standards… (I am certified annually and saw only best practices throughout my experience). The hospital was new and close by and Dr Ipiña transported me to Emergency! I was cared for above and beyond normal standards. All doctors and staff were attentive, and caring; I never felt anything but complete confidence in the professionals caring for me. I kept saying I felt like I was staying at the Ritz! My husband Tim commented, “Well, we’ve never been in a hospital with marble floors before.” There was a beautiful couch that Tim spent the night on.

All fees including Dr. Ipiña’s care, lab work, hospital stay and prescriptions were approximately $50,625 Pesos or $2800.00 USD. We believe the charges were more than reasonable for the care and service received.

This experience assures our return visits to La Cruz. From the response of our hosts at Villa Amor del Mar when I first became ill, right up to the moment we were discharged from the hospital, we received first class quality medical and “friend” care; our sincere thanks to all involved.”


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Cindy Bouchard
Cindy Bouchard, an expat Canadian runs a Boutique Hotel, Villa Amor del Mar, in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta–Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… A very special vacation contact Cindy via