After reading your article about the Minnesota couple yesterday it sounded all too familiar to us. My husband
and I were in Costa Rica, arriving Dec. 12th, 2011. We were staying in a rental home in Cocles on the Caribbean
side. My husband experienced chest pains a few days after our arrival. Not knowing anyone except a neighbor
who had just introduced himself the day before, he became our guardian angel. He runs a local self-employed tour business. I went over and told him the situation and he quickly told us that he would take us immediately to the Hone Creek Clinic 15 minutes away. When we arrived at the Hone Creek Clinic, the doctor on call suggested that my husband be transported by ambulance to the Limón hospital.
We had an evacuation insurance policy which I called immediately to alert them on what was happening. I would rather not give you the name of the company due to an ongoing claim with them. My husband was admitted to the Limón hospital Dec. 15th, and after blood tests they told me he didn’t have a heart attack and he would be released the next day. To make a long story short, the Limón hospital put him in ICU for five days on a nitro drip. After five days they decided he did have a heart attack and they were going to transport him to San Jose, CIMA hospital.
While he was laying on the gurney, they demanded $5,500. He gave them the debit and the Limón hospital withdrew $5,500. I received a call telling me that they couldn’t admit him in to CIMA hospital until I paid another $5,000. They then told me he was going to Clinica Biblica hospital in San Jose and they wouldn’t do a catheterization unless we paid another $10,000, up to $20,000.00 CASH up front.
After realizing this may be a scam, my husband took out his IV and took a taxi back to Cocles.
We ended up taking a five-hour bus trip back to San José and flew back to Miami on our own. We were told to go to the University of Miami Hospital emergency room, they did the catheterization and found a 90 percent blockage in the right main artery. The cardiologist told us he had no idea how we made it from Costa Rica without a blood clot or death
from the heart attack.
After reading the story yesterday we felt the same way the couple from Minnesota must have felt. We to felt extorted for money. We want the travel warning out there also to people traveling to Costa Rica. We love Costa Rica but feel like we’d never ever return because of the health care situation with tourist. Tourist are victims. They really need to get something done in Costa Rica like Panama or NO one is safe traveling to Costa Rica unless you have unlimited amounts of cash on you.
Walter & Lori Hey