Doctors in Cuba Start Over in the U.S.

Awesome article in the Times:

In 1991, Carlos Domínguez, a family doctor in one of Havana’s poorest neighborhoods, bought a boat for 12,000 pesos — the equivalent of saving his entire paycheck for three years — to escape the government that had trained him to be an international doctor.

Already married and saddled with family responsibilities, he put away his medical school books, and signed up for a program to become a nurse in one year. Since 2001 he has worked as a hospice admissions nurse, a job that allows him to work with patients while avoiding the hurdles that doctors have to overcome to practice medicine in the United States.

Yet for many Cuban doctors, who earn the equivalent of $25 a month, the lure of a life of freedom and opportunities in the United States is too strong to resist. And so these children of the revolution, educated by a Communist regime to reject capitalism and embrace socialism, have ended up in Miami, often tending to elderly Cubans who fled the island before the doctors were born.

“I know neurosurgeons who are working in warehouses or factories or as gas attendants,” said Julio César Alfonso, 40, who graduated from medical school in Cuba in 1992 and works as a clinic manager in Miami. “But I know many more who are working as nurses, medical assistants and technicians.”

Lianete Pérez, 37, works as a medical assistant in the office of a pediatrician in Miami. A former anesthesiologist, Dr. Pérez longed to leave Cuba, arrived in 2002 and is studying to take the medical exams later this year. Unlike other doctors who resent having their skills tested years after medical school, she said she welcomed the chance to go back to the books.

“There are enormous differences between medicine in Cuba and in the United States,” she said. “I can’t tell you that Cuban doctors are not well trained, but I can tell you that the books we used were edited in 1962, and for me, coming here was like starting all over again.”

Aside from old books, Cuban medical students and doctors must contend with a lack of modern equipment and, often, of drugs and diagnostic tools taken for granted in developed countries. But many expatriate doctors say their dealings with patients in Cuba were more humane and less rushed than they are in the United States.

I’d read the whole thing. Super interesting. It’s always nice to hear a much more realistic view of the healthcare system in Cuba vs. Sicko’s propaganda.

For those people who think that healthcare is about expensive technology, the most up to date information, the newest medication…the World Health Organization ranks Cuba much better than ours because the process of healthcare delivery in Cuba is more effective than the process of healthcare delivery in the US. They’ve learned to do a ton with very little. We’ve learned to make a ton and spend a ton because healthcare has been a bottomless pit of money.

Doctors in Cuba Start Over in the U.S.