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Ticos Travel to Panama in Search of Treatments not Allowed in CR

On May 13, 2008 Juan Carlos Murillo pilot crashed his plane in a plantation of cabbages in San Martin de Cot, Oreamuno, Cartago.  A few days later, while convalescing in a hospital bed Hospital Mexico, he received the worst prognosis of his life: four broken vertebrae, cut in the spinal cord and all your future clinging to a wheelchair.

Murillo, then 28, refused to accept that fate and underwent several stem cell therapy he received in a private hospital in Costa Rica.

In 2011, when treatment was banned in our country, had to fly to Panama to continue therapy. Four years later, Juan Carlos Murillo left the wheelchair, crutches and sometimes stick.

Like him, dozens of Costa Rican resort to neighboring Costa Rica because this treatment is not recognized by the Ministry of Health and is considered an experimental procedure.

Stem cells are extracted from the patient or the umbilical cord of a child and have the ability to regenerate other body tissues.

With this treatment, some doctors try to cure ailments such as spinal cord injury, leukemia, multiple sclerosis and heart disease.

But there is still no proven hypothesis about the effectiveness of these procedures and therefore the Constitutional Court banned its application in March 2010.

Maria Luisa Avila, then Health Minister reiterated to this report that this technique is not recognized in Costa Rica, as in the U.S. and much of Europe, for lack of evidence of effectiveness.

Who are also trips across the border are couples with infertility problems, they resort to in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a last resort to conceive.

This is the case of Gerardo Mejia and Leandro Marcela, who thanks to IVF brought the world to a tiny named Ruben, about to turn 2 years and 11 months.

They criticized the lack of legislation in Costa Rica to regulate the procedure and cheaper costs.

IVF is banned here since 2000, and now the country faces a trial in the Court of Human Rights for apparent violation of the rights of couples who wanted the procedure to procreate.

Three years ago, when Mejia and Leandro traveled paid $ 8,000 for the procedure, but the price goes up to $ 16,000, according to the medical clinic and contracted.

For patients receiving stem cell therapy alone has a price of around $ 30,000 for four weeks of injections. This amount does not include airfare, food and lodging.

“As I am tico, charged me $ 12,000 each time ($ 20,000 with hotel and tickets). A gringo treatment leaves only about $ 30,000 “, were said Chavarria, who survived a bullet that damaged her spinal cord. Murillo said the same amount.

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