February 7 An Encounter with Kiwi Healthcare (Day 133)

We had the opportunity today to learn more about the NZ Healthcare system, and we are very pleased with our encounter. Thank goodness it wasn’t because of an accident or emergency, but we thought it was a good idea to talk to a Dr. about a growth on Robert’s forehead. Robert has had several moles and growths removed in the past couple of years, some cancerous, some benign. This growth came on about 3 months ago, not in evidence when he saw his dermatologist before we left Bend or when we had our photos taken for our International Driver’s Licenses. It seemed to be growing quickly and Robert researched dermatologists in the area. NZ is notorious for intense sun and UV light and they have a healthcare program to educate and screen for skin cancers. We couldn’t book an appointment online, so we decided to call the nearby Te Anau clinic. We had to wait a day because Jan. 6 is a National Holiday, Waitangi Day, to celebrate the signing of the Waitangi Treaty in 1840! When we got hold of them at 8:15am they had an opening at 9:30am! We got there and had a very short wait for a Dr. to look at it. She took pictures to consult with the surgeon, and made an appointment for 3:15pm for removal. We came back at the designated time and were ushered into the ‘operating room/storage room’ and the Dr. came in. After about 40 min. Robert was stitched up and we were heading out the door!

A happy patient! When we left Robert was getting funny sympathetic looks from other patients!

For a total of $651.45 US, Robert got a consultation/exam, surgery, a lab exam of the tissue and a followup the next day! We are awaiting the lab results which will be emailed to us in about 2 weeks.

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