Do you ever wonder why people are always so ready to spread unsubstantiated rumors?
Honestly – I’m asked one question in particular once a week – at least.
What’s that question, you ask?
“Is it true that Dr. Baltasar has retired?”
Or, alternatively, someone will say…
“So sad that Dr. Baltasar has retired, oh well, I heard from so-and-so that their surgeon is taking over in his place…”
So – in attempt to be definitive, I felt the need to set the record straight.
NO, Dr. Baltasar has not retired.
He is, in fact, still doing surgery. He and his team – the group of incredible surgeons who have been a team for more than 30 years – continue to work together and make medical history.
If you didn’t hear, this past Spring Dr. Baltasar was one of four surgeons worldwide who were nominated for the incredibly prestigious ASBMS Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award. (You can see the notification letter here.)
The three surgeons that make up the powerful bariatric surgical team in Alcoy – Dr. Aniceto Baltasar, Dr. Rafael Bou and Dr. Marcelo Bengochea – continue to save and revolutionize lives.
Now in his mid-60’s Dr. Baltasar and his lovely wife do have an eye toward retirement in the coming years – they have grandbabies that they need to be loving on! J With the goal of more family time in mind, they have decided to try and ease their schedules that direction. (For those of you who may not know, Mrs. Baltasar – who is one of the sweetest, kindest ladies you will ever meet, is also the scrub nurse in the OR with Dr. Baltasar and team. I’ve heard him remark more than once what a blessing it is to have her working at his side!)
So yes, they are slowing down. Rather than doing two surgeries a day five to six days a week in his private bariatric practice – and juggling his responsibility of Chief of Surgery at Hospital Virgen de los Lírios, nowadays it’s more like one surgery 4 days a week in his private bariatric practice. (If you’re not familiar with healthcare in Spain – it is socialized, so pretty much all doctors/surgeons work for the state for part of the day and then conduct a private practice the balance of the day.) Dr. Baltasar has also stepped down from his Chief of Surgery position and retired from his position at the state-run hospital. It gives Mrs. Baltasar and he more freedom to pursue other interests – and actual free time – something that has been elusive for them for years given their extreme dedication to improving patients’ lives!
Sometime in the next 3 to 5 years, yes, he’ll probably retire – but his team will continue on, headed by the very capable Dr. Rafael Bou, who has been a key component of the wonder that happens in the OR with the team. J
Another question I get often is….
So – wait?! – You mean I could still have my surgery with Dr. Baltasar in Spain?!
Yes, of course!
Honestly – if I were a newbie checking out WLS and wanted a world leader in the field to do my surgery (and –um – hello?! – who wouldn’t?!), you better bet your sweet bippy I’d be writing my introductory email to Dr. Baltasar right this very minute!
How do you get in touch with him, you ask? Start by emailing him. Here are his email addresses:
Why two email addresses? Well – if you have a particularly crabby virus scanner/spam blocker, you may find that you’ll have problems with the internationally based first address. If you know you’ve got issues with that – then use the gmail email address. Heck – use both of them! Make sure he gets the email!
Just so you know – he’s FAST about responding. If you don’t have a response with 24 hours I’d be really surprised. That typically means 1) your spam blocker has diverted his email to your junk email folder as an unknown sender, 2) he didn’t get your email, or 3) he’s out of the country – he does travel quite a bit to teach, proctor new surgeons, etc. But – he checks email while he’s away, too – he just isn’t always able to respond quite as quickly sometimes if his duties while he’s abroad are particularly time-consuming.
If that’s the case, you can always drop me an email and see if I happen to know if he’s out of town or not.
Also – his new web site is being built as we speak – http://www.drbaltasar.es/index_en.html – right now the majority of it is in Spanish, but English is coming. Check back often to see progress!
Then there’s always….
So – it probably takes a really time to get a surgery date with Dr. Baltasar, huh?!
No. Not necessarily.
Depending on the time of year – and how many people are in the queue to have surgery, and the like – if there’s a cancellation or date adjustment – it’s possible to get a surgery date very quickly. Heck, I know one patient who decided on surgery, learned about Dr. Baltasar and had all of the pre-op questionnaire filled out and emailed out to Dr. B within about 24 hours; then, a last minute date adjustment came up and a date opened – within the coming week – and because this guy already had his passport in hand and his financing all lined up – he was in Spain recovering within a week! CRAZY! But it can happen.
Typically, however, most people can count on a surgery date within the coming 3 months. You should know that most summers Dr. Baltasar and team do not work during the latter half of the month of July and all of August – so needless to say, our teacher friends who are trying to get surgery dates for just after the conclusion of the school year tend to snatch those June/July dates up way ahead of time. Just saying…
Pretty much without fail, the next question will be…
But going to Spain is really only for rich people, right? I mean, who could afford that?!
Um – NO!
SO not rich! (Says the girl trying to figure out how to finance school clothes for the boys for this coming school year, not to mention just the regular day-to-day stuff!)
Did you know that the average cost of having a self-pay laparoscopic DS in the US is in the neighborhood of about $35,000? (Well, if you get a bargain…)
Did you know that the average cost of having a self-pay laparoscopic DS with Dr. Baltasar and team in Spain is 15,500€ (for hospital, labs, tests, surgeons fees, etc.) – which translates to $22,107.65 with today’s exchange rate. Yes, you’ll still need to factor in airfare, lodging, ground transportation (all of which are tax-deductible), and meals – but even with that – a pretty stinking good deal. One of the best surgeons in the world for a bargain! Especially when you consider it’s a completely lap procedure – not a hand-assist – the risk of hernia soooo much lower as a result.
Did you know that the average length of time for a Lap DS with Dr. Baltasar and team is less than 4 hours on the surgical table. In fact, most Lap DS’s are more like in the 2 to 3 hour range (the fastest to date was 1 hour 7 minutes – super fast!).
And Lap Sleeve – seriously fast – like an hour is all it takes.
Know what happens when you get the Maserati of WLS with one of the best surgeons in the world? Amazing recovery times. Wonderful long-term outcomes. Fabulous quality of life.
Okay? We all on the same page now?
So my question for you – if you’re a pre-op thinking it’s time to get serious about WLS.
Whatcha sitting there for? Email Dr. Baltasar!