Visiting A&E Abroad: A Trip to Peruvian A&E

Whenever bad things happen I always remember the conversation we were having at the time. It’s never about world politics or feeding the hungry, it’s always some mundane thing that haunts me whenever I think about how stupid it was.

This is what I was thinking, while I sat in the wheelchair in the stark whiteness of an accident and emergency department in Lima, reflecting on the conversation I’d been having with D about the time I’d once had too many shots of rum on a night out.

visiting A&E abroad - metal protruding from ground

An small incident

It was a hot, sunny day and we were both wearing flip-flops. In the midst of the previously mentioned conversation, I suddenly tripped on something and stumbled across the pavement. Trying (and failing) to hold back tears, I attempted to walk off the pain, to the bemusement of the people in the cars at the busy intersection we happened to be stood at.

A couple of minutes later, the pain had mostly gone, and we decided to set off again. Until I looked at my foot. Horrified, I realised my middle toe was bent suspiciously to the right. I’d never broken anything before and I’d last been in A&E when I was two. Peru didn’t seem like a great place to break this trend. Fear flooded me about insurance policies, doctors speaking Spanish, and whether I’d be allowed on my flight the next day.

visiting A&E abroad - C's broken toe

visiting A&e abroad

I hobbled back to the hotel and tried to make the decision between getting it fixed in Lima, or waiting 24 hours and going to A&E in Miami.

Eventually, I decided to go there and then – it’s not like we’d made plans for our last day in Peru!

We found a hospital that had a good reputation, some English speaking staff and was a short taxi ride from the hotel. I painfully limped in, forever thankful that one – I knew what was wrong with me – nothing lethal, and two – that I wouldn’t need any invasive care.

visiting A&E abroad - C in a Wheelchair

a quick turnaround

After three consultations, an x-ray, paying for healthcare (a first for me – bless the NHS!), and having a doctor pull said broken toe to put it back in position – ouch! – I was turfed out of my wheelchair less than 90 minutes after I’d arrived.

We celebrated with ice cream!

I’m really glad I decided to get it done in Lima, it was something to tick off the bucket list. Everyone was really nice, and it was much easier than I’d feared. I’ve since been regaled of broken bone stories here in the US that don’t sound quite as quick and simple as mine; although I hopefully won’t be making the comparison myself any time soon.

Have you had the misfortune of visiting A&E abroad? How was your experience? Get in touch in the comments below.

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