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Death in Panama: Dying at Home

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Bonnie Williams mentioned to me that some people have commented to her that they think the procedure followed for someone dying in Boquete (at home) is different than what she explained in her post about Larry dying in the hospital in David.  Having just gone through that experience of my husband dying at home, I want to say that except for a few details, what she explained applies to a home death too.  Here is the procedure I went through.  It might be useful to know.

Sam's death was not unexpected.  He was not sick in the sense of needing doctors and ongoing medical care, so he did not have an ongoing relationship with a doctor.  If a person dies without a doctor having known his condition, the police can get involved, and an autopsy can be ordered to rule out a crime.  Wanting to avoid such a horror, I called Dra. Diaz and asked her to come and examine Sam so she could verify his condition, make a record, and establish a relationship, however brief.  It was worth the effort, because when he died, I called her to pronounce it, and everything went smoothly - no police, no autopsy.  If you do not have a relationship with a doctor in Boquete, make an appointment and get examined to establish a medical record so the doctor will know who you are if you die.

Prior to Sam's death a person from hospice who is fluent in Spanish called the funeral home to alert them.  She called them again when he died, and asked them to pick up his body.  Dra. Diaz filled out the Report of Death which I gave to the driver of the hearse.  I did not have to do anything, and I did not pay until I picked up the ashes.  I did not have to go to the funeral home or to the Tribunal Electoral.  The funeral home (Retiro, the same one Bonnie used - excellent professional operation) took care of everything - transporting the body from my house to David, transporting the body to Panama City for cremation, bringing the ashes back to David, and getting the death certificates from the Tribunal.  There was a 2-day turn around time.  They called me when they had the ashes.  I went to David and paid them in cash, collected the ashes and the death certificates, and went home.

Different funeral homes might have different procedures.  I know only about the procedures of Retiro and would recommend them, because they made the whole experience stress-free and dignified.  Above all, if a death is expected, get Boquete Hospice involved.  Their help and support was beyond valuable.  I don't know what I would have done without them.



Edited by JudyS
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14 hours ago, JudyS said:

Different funeral homes might have different procedures.

I have used the services of Funeria del Retiro two times. I just want to add that you can't pay them with a credit card. It's either cash or local check.




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At the request of several CL members, Judy's topic about dying at home has been converted to PDF format for easy download and printing.

Death in Panama - Dying at Home.pdf

Downloading of documents on CL requires a successful registration. Registration and use of CL is free. Just click on the "sign up" link in the upper right of the home page.

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