Spanish in Mexico


A red cross building

There are specific telephone numbers for reporting emergencies; however, these numbers should only be used in life-threatening situations. For the most part, someone with a health emergency should be taken to the emergency rooms at the Red Cross or the public health facility for the national health care system (IMSS or Mexican Institute of Social Security). Public facilities do not charge or charge very little for their services.

Since most public clinics and hospitals usually require that patients be members of the IMSS or have another government affiliation, private hospitals and clinics can be most helpful to visitors. There are, however, public hospitals outside of IMSS that treat any patient regardless of income or resident status. The service may not be up to the standards of private institutions, but the cost will be more reasonable.

Private clinics usually specialize in particular health issues; thus, one must sometimes find the right clinic. Private hospitals have emergency rooms; however, one must pay for the service received, and the cost can be prohibitive. Most private hospitals require a credit card or proof of ability to pay before they will admit a patient.

Crime emergencies, such as stolen property, must be reported to the neighborhood police department or to the policemen on duty.