The old hospital


HEADING BACK to the Honda this afternoon, I passed this place, Hospital San Juan as it’s usually known, but I see here that it’s dubbed the Hospital General Dr. Gabriel Garcia A.C.

Open 24 hours.

I’ll stick with Hospital San Juan. It’s connected somehow — physically at least — to the Templo de San Juan de Dios, and it’s where Jean Kinnison died about a decade ago of a heart attack. She and her husband Al lived just over a block away, so it was the logical place to take her that day when she was feeling very poorly, so poorly she died shortly after arriving at the Hospital San Juan.

It’s a very basic hospital. If you’ve got some major issue, better head elsewhere, but if you’re in a rush and nearby, just go there for starters. We’ve done that a couple of times, but not in many years. You can get a consultation at the emergency room for about two bucks. And these are real doctors who work part-time here while also practicing in more prestigious places.

Enlarge the photo and you get a clearer view of the offerings. Not just the emergency room, but dental care, blood transfusions, surgery, X-rays, whatnot. Just about anything. I took Steve Cotton there years back when he had some issue with a blood-pressure prescription.

The building in which sits the hospital and the connected church is about 500 years old, but they keep it tidy even if the beds look like something from the Spanish Civil War. No matter. I would recommend this place in a pinch. However, if you have time for a drive, and don’t mind paying more than two bucks, go down to the state capital where you’ll find this alternative.

If you’re being discharged from the Hospital San Juan, or if you’re visiting a patient, be aware that as you walk out the front door, you can turn right half a block where you’ll find incredible sugar donuts in a pastry shop. The sugar donuts are not available on weekends, just weekdays.

You’re not likely to find such treats near one of those fancy-pants medical centers.

16 thoughts on “The old hospital

  1. Your “alternative” link won’t light up. The more primitive public hospitals (i.e. cesspools) don’t supply so much as toilet paper, soap for hand washing much less a paper towel to dry. If you are admitted to hospital and don’t have friends or family, you’re pretty much out of luck. But they can’t seem to get a critically injured or ill patient all the way to any of the country’s public hospitals alive anyway.


    1. Carole: I have fixed that link. Thanks for letting me know.

      Cesspools? Now, now. The Hospital San Juan is quite low-brow, but it’s clean and neat. True, in many of the lower-end places, much responsibility is put on the shoulders of relatives. It’s always been that way. Care of all levels is available if you know where to look. I’ll take the Mexican system over the U.S. mess any day.


    1. Señor Cotton: Blood pressure sensitive to altitude? Aw, you’re just inventing another reason to not move into a better part of Mexico. But I guess it’s moot now that you’ve gone and bought yourself a house at the beach.


  2. And, as a polar opposite, is the modern, forward looking facility of Consultorios Médicos Especializados in our town,  which you, Felipe, turned me on to. However, I don’t think that they are set up just yet for overnight stays.

    You can make an appointment! That means minimal waiting.
    Plus, they have wifi! And, some parking. On top of all that, it’s between two seafood restaurants less than 2 blocks apart. Can’t beat that.

    Don Cuevas


    1. Don Cuevas: Yep, that’s a great option and a wonderful addition to our mountaintop town. Not set up for overnight stays? But it’s not a hospital. It’s doctors’ offices and a lab.

      I was a fan of Garces for years, but just stopping by his office is a crap shoot. Sometimes, the wait is short or nonexistent. Other times, you sit and sit and sit, plus he kept going up on his price. The Consultorios Medicos costs considerably less for a doctor visit, or did last time I was there. Been a while. Best thing is its spectacular convenience.


  3. Furnishing one’s own toilet paper aside, Mexican medical care is still among the best in the world…I remember taking a friend to the emergency room in San Diego…we waited 6 hours to be seen…and the bill for consultation and treatment was over $600 USD…


    1. Charles: How right you are. Emergency rooms in the United States have become a national joke due to their having become the first tier of medical care for so many citizens. Perhaps Obamacare will improve that, but with so many other downsides to Obamacare, it will all equal out … badly.

      About five years ago, I had an ear problem that totally tossed my balance off. I went to the emergency room at Star Medica in the state capital 40 minutes away. It’s a modern, state-of-the art facility. I was tended to immediately, was there about 45 minutes and left cured. The cost was the equivalent of about $15 U.S.


  4. Always good to hear about the medical care from someone who lives there. I’ve pretty much heard more positives than negative. Now about that donut shop …


    1. Angeline: Our healthcare system has it all over the U.S. mess. There is a government-subsidized system for the poor or whoever wants to take advantage of it. Anybody can. And you’re not coerced into it like Obamacare. And, parallel to that, is a private system, which costs more, is superior, but still costs far less than the U.S. disaster. It’s great.

      Not really a donut shop. It’s a pastry shop that sells lots of stuff, but I am particularly smitten with those sugar donuts.


  5. I was driven to Hospital General Dr. Gabriel Garcia by a hysterical 15-year-old girl along with her companion and a local policeman. I was suffering from a concussion and other injuries. When we stopped in front of the Templo it seemed we were going there for Last Rites, a Rosary or whatever.

    The next day I was released from the hospital. The doctors and nurses were excellent, and very caring.

    The hysterical girl’s father was a judge (State Supreme Court or something), and paid all the medical expenses.


    1. Joe Z: So, a positive experience. Glad you were well served, which doesn’t surprise me. I’m guessing your injuries were caused by the girl in some way, which explains why dad paid up.


  6. “Guiding Light” was once known as the longest running soap opera in existence. After that, “As The World Turns,” and then in 1963 came “General Hospital.” Since the cancellation of the other two soap operas, “General Hospital” is now known as the longest running American soap opera in production. The show celebrated 50 years last month.

    All the world’s a soap opera, and all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances; and one person plays many parts.


    1. Andrés: I did not know soaps are still on America TV. They sure are alive and well in Mexico. I used to watch a couple years ago to improve my Spanish, plus they are fun and over the top, as they say.


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