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Thread: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

  1. #1
    thomasj is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Toronto Posts: 282

    Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    hello all!
    I hope everyone is ready for the holidays. I can't believe that a new year is almost upon us eh.

    I spent a week on our little island recently and thought to share a few thoughts. This was my 8th (or is it 9th or 10th?) visit since 2008. At this point I think I've lost track (is this common?) and this last trip turned out VERY different than I thought it would so here goes:

    - the island looks great overall, a bit more green growth since summer, but still some way to go on some parts of the island. I stayed this time on Vitet (1st time) and that part of the island looks awesome, lush.

    - traffic was, by far, the heaviest I have ever seen it. Lots of cars, lots of trucks and LOTS of scooters. I found most car and truck drivers polite however the scooter drivers are extremely reckless and rude (many were smoking AND on a cell phone while driving).

    - Gustavia traffic was heaviest I have ever seen it, and parking near impossible. Many times I parked at hospital and walked back.

    - beaches look great (except Grand Cul de sac). Saline and Guverneur have gone far but dunes still being rebuilt. Less seaweed than in summer.

    - quite busy everywhere, groceries, shops, restaurants. Nice to see that come alive.

    - SMOKING everywhere! Ate at Bouchon (good, not great) all customers smoking around us while we ate. Shankar Juice enjoying a juice - smokers all around, Isoletta - tons of smokers. We just gave up and cooked. Marches are well stocked however prices have definitely gone way up.

    - one of my travel companions had a very nasty slip on our first day and dislocated her shoulder (among other damage) not broken though. Therefore this trip I had a thorough experience with the St Barts Medical System. If you ever find yourself needing care, well now I know the scoop here. Dr. Gilles (very amicable, fluent English) was awesome and reset my friends shoulder (with laughing gas) in short order. Most of the staff at the hospital DO NOT speak English FYI. The Hospital is rudimentary however looks capable to handle any minor emergencies, there were a few broken limbs and a heart attack while we were there. The Radiology clinic is next door, is newer and has all the necessary equipment, except the X-Ray machine was broken, and they were waiting for someone to come from St. Martin to fix it. The staff at the Radiology clinic also don't speak English. In terms of pricing, bills, etc. for non-EU folk it is 80 euros for a hospital visit during day, 200 after hours. A 24 stay in the hospital is 1200 Euros. The word of the day is INSURANCE! Thankfully I always travel with as did my companions.

    - Mosquitos were SO BAD this visit, that even myself, who usually never taste good to them, was eaten alive. Raid and Natrapel only helped minimally. The eaters were everywhere! At least in Vitet there was wind so bearable. It did rain every day I was there.

    What else? I will add as I remember.

    Finally - visit So Cuisine, if you haven't already. They moved upstairs to a new space, reopened on December 12th and the very nice couple who owns the place did a very nice job with the place and their food is awesome, healthy and fresh (and reasonable prices for island standards).

    Great Trip, a little more stressful than normal, but still love the island, cannot wait to come back again.
    LAST VISIT: December 2018
    NEXT VISIT: March 2019 (for my Birthday!)
    St. Barth Je t'aime (except all the smoking...)

  2. #2
    Bart -my real name- is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Alexandria, VA Posts: 5,262

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Great report Thomas! Sorry about your friend.


    Your our comment about the mosquitos is interesting. I only saw a few at the villa and none anywhere else when I was there. Location, location, location I guess.

  3. #3
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,154

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Good find in So Cuisine! I agree.

  4. #4
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,560

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    When I first visited SBH about 35 years ago I was in my 20’s, and Iron Man - nothing could hurt me. I’m no longer in my 20’s, and I’m certain that my medical insurance covers me internationally. But I also buy medevac coverage every year, which also covers me when I travel away from home in the US. I use MedJet Assist, others use other companies. I hope to never find out if I have made the best choice in medevac services...

  5. #5
    elgreaux is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Saint Barth Posts: 10,212

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by thomasj View Post
    hello all!
    I hope everyone is ready for the holidays. I can't believe that a new year is almost upon us eh.

    I spent a week on our little island recently and thought to share a few thoughts. This was my 8th (or is it 9th or 10th?) visit since 2008. At this point I think I've lost track (is this common?) and this last trip turned out VERY different than I thought it would so here goes:

    - the island looks great overall, a bit more green growth since summer, but still some way to go on some parts of the island. I stayed this time on Vitet (1st time) and that part of the island looks awesome, lush.

    - traffic was, by far, the heaviest I have ever seen it. Lots of cars, lots of trucks and LOTS of scooters. I found most car and truck drivers polite however the scooter drivers are extremely reckless and rude (many were smoking AND on a cell phone while driving).

    - Gustavia traffic was heaviest I have ever seen it, and parking near impossible. Many times I parked at hospital and walked back.

    - beaches look great (except Grand Cul de sac). Saline and Guverneur have gone far but dunes still being rebuilt. Less seaweed than in summer.

    - quite busy everywhere, groceries, shops, restaurants. Nice to see that come alive.

    - SMOKING everywhere! Ate at Bouchon (good, not great) all customers smoking around us while we ate. Shankar Juice enjoying a juice - smokers all around, Isoletta - tons of smokers. We just gave up and cooked. Marches are well stocked however prices have definitely gone way up.

    - one of my travel companions had a very nasty slip on our first day and dislocated her shoulder (among other damage) not broken though. Therefore this trip I had a thorough experience with the St Barts Medical System. If you ever find yourself needing care, well now I know the scoop here. Dr. Gilles (very amicable, fluent English) was awesome and reset my friends shoulder (with laughing gas) in short order. Most of the staff at the hospital DO NOT speak English FYI. The Hospital is rudimentary however looks capable to handle any minor emergencies, there were a few broken limbs and a heart attack while we were there. The Radiology clinic is next door, is newer and has all the necessary equipment, except the X-Ray machine was broken, and they were waiting for someone to come from St. Martin to fix it. The staff at the Radiology clinic also don't speak English. In terms of pricing, bills, etc. for non-EU folk it is 80 euros for a hospital visit during day, 200 after hours. A 24 stay in the hospital is 1200 Euros. The word of the day is INSURANCE! Thankfully I always travel with as did my companions.

    - Mosquitos were SO BAD this visit, that even myself, who usually never taste good to them, was eaten alive. Raid and Natrapel only helped minimally. The eaters were everywhere! At least in Vitet there was wind so bearable. It did rain every day I was there.

    What else? I will add as I remember.

    Finally - visit So Cuisine, if you haven't already. They moved upstairs to a new space, reopened on December 12th and the very nice couple who owns the place did a very nice job with the place and their food is awesome, healthy and fresh (and reasonable prices for island standards).

    Great Trip, a little more stressful than normal, but still love the island, cannot wait to come back again.
    quick question, did the hospital here take your friend's insurance in lieu of payment? or how did that work out?

  6. #6
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,953

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Thank you for your report. Sorry about the mosquitoes. We always stay on the windy side and that seems to keep the pests away. Wish the island would have smoking rules similar to the US as it is impossible to enjoy an evening/ meal with smoke all around you. Even though the traffic was bad, glad to see your last sentence saying you’ll be back!

  7. #7
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,295

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Glad you got the care needed. As you know I like happy endings. So take care and looking forward to your next visit’s news and report.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  8. #8
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,154

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Tom . . . my first visit to the hospital was about 1982. A houseguest, on his first night visiting, had a bad fall, & I took him there for treatment. “Triage” was done by a bevy of French nuns . . . not one of whom spoke a word of English. My guest & I had “petit peu” French. Then there was the French (male) doctor. No English. Finally, communication being made clear . . . we were sent away with ONE crutch. No “pair” of crutches on the island. It was barely a blip in the holiday &, fortunately, is today — 36 years later— a fun memory of more youthful times.

  9. #9
    stbartslover is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2003 Ann Arbor, MI---Flamands Posts: 2,575

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Great story, Dennis.

    Several hospital experiences (both in/out patient) in the past and recently from ourselves along with villa Guests: if you need care---get off the island with evac plans made in advance. We like others in the medical community use MedJet Assist.


    Note: in our November trip we noticed the island a little greener than in the past but no more skeeters than usual. We're up high, typically with a breeze and screens but even down low did not notice a difference from years past.
    Jeff
    Flamands Blue
    www.stbartsvilla.com

  10. #10
    thomasj is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Toronto Posts: 282

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by elgreaux View Post
    quick question, did the hospital here take your friend's insurance in lieu of payment? or how did that work out?
    Hello Ellen, sorry for the delay in response, Iím spending Christmas in Kauai.
    to answer your question: the hospital took payment (credit card accepted) on same day as services rendered. My friend then claimed thru her insurance when she returned home.

    hope you enjoyed the holidays!
    Tom
    LAST VISIT: December 2018
    NEXT VISIT: March 2019 (for my Birthday!)
    St. Barth Je t'aime (except all the smoking...)

  11. #11
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,372

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Just curious, what does medevac coverage cost generally? Definitely smart to have if spending any length of time on the island.

  12. #12
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,560

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by GMP62 View Post
    Just curious, what does medevac coverage cost generally? Definitely smart to have if spending any length of time on the island.
    The annual family (2 of us) coverage which I have is about $400/year. It covers us anytime we're 150+ miles from home, not just for international travel. It's not insurance, it's a membership. https://medjetassist.com/

    There are other companies who offer similar services. https://www.consumersadvocate.org/me...-air-transport

    One number which is often thrown around for an out-of-pocket international medevac is $25K.

  13. #13
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,372

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Thank you, Kevin, for this information. A worthy membership investment for sure. $25k out-of-pocket emergency expense would not be desirable.

  14. #14
    thomasj is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Toronto Posts: 282

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    thanks everyone for all the input. The Medivac insurance surely looks like the way to go. We were lucky this time (well my friend would dispute that I guess) that it wasn't serious, however as friendly as the island hospital is, they definitely cannot handle anything serious.

    Hope everyone had a nice Christmas and New Year!
    LAST VISIT: December 2018
    NEXT VISIT: March 2019 (for my Birthday!)
    St. Barth Je t'aime (except all the smoking...)

  15. #15
    pascaleschmidt is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2008 NYC, Nice Posts: 1,491

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    had a few experiences over the years with the hospital even stitches for my elderly dad... we are french citizens so it was easy with the carte vitale... i think for most minor things they are very good....

  16. #16
    BND is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2011 Alexandria, VA Posts: 830

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    "Cannot wait to come back again." Spoken like a true SB lover from someone whose trip included rain every day, mosquitos, and a trip to the hospital (thankfully not as a patient)!

  17. #17
    FamilyTraveler is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2017 Westchester, NY Posts: 58

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Just purchased medical transportation insurance because of this post. Hopefully we'll never need a reason to use it but happy for the peace of mind. My husband had to take my daughter to the hospital twice last year because of a virus. Agree that they were equipped for minor issues but not for serious medical issues.

  18. #18
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,295

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    FamilyTraveler I so agree.Peace of mind,PRICELESS!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  19. #19
    thomasj is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Toronto Posts: 282

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyTraveler View Post
    Just purchased medical transportation insurance because of this post. Hopefully we'll never need a reason to use it but happy for the peace of mind. My husband had to take my daughter to the hospital twice last year because of a virus. Agree that they were equipped for minor issues but not for serious medical issues.
    Good, comprehensive insurance for sure way to go! Yes Hopital de Bruyn is totally adequate, fast and friendly for minor things, anything more serious requires a medi-vac to SXM, Guadeloupe or Miami.
    as a side note, I did notice in the week I was there, a minimum of 2 ambulances racing thru St Jean daily the entire week (a first for me) so the local hospital is getting busier than before FYI.
    LAST VISIT: December 2018
    NEXT VISIT: March 2019 (for my Birthday!)
    St. Barth Je t'aime (except all the smoking...)

  20. #20
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,953

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Our daughter in law visited the clinic for a respiratory infection and received an antibiotic. During her brief wait in the reception area she was “eaten alive “ by mosquitoes! This though was several seasons ago!

  21. #21
    Chipper is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Dec 2013 Nashville, TN Posts: 226

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by GMP62 View Post
    Thank you, Kevin, for this information. A worthy membership investment for sure. $25k out-of-pocket emergency expense would not be desirable.
    Yes Gayle, I discovered MedJet a few years ago and got the same yearly policy as Kevin. It comforts me knowing we will covered if needed in SBH, Italy, etc, but as he said, in the States too, if more than 150 miles. In fact, cards came today! Worth the money for the peace of mind.
    Hotty Toddy!

  22. #22
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,295

    Re: Mid - December Visit with Medical Emergency Experience

    We have believed in that insurance for many years. Peace of mind..PRICELESS.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

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