Guayabitos Swimming Accident Victim Seeks Witnesses

Editor’s Note February 26, 2016:

The original article named the wrong hospital. After that hospital contacted us we made contact with the victim and he confirmed the error. The name of the hospital has been removed. We thank everyone that helped in getting the story correct and apologize for the error.

By Barbara H. Shaw

For many years Dennis Bauer has swum several times a week off the beach at Guayabitos. “I love to swim,” says Bauer (79) a former US Air Force man with a home in Las Vegas. As a young man, he was a lifeguard and after hearing of far too many non-swimmers losing their lives in the ocean here he helped organize the beach patrols, under the auspices of the Guayabitos hotel owners. That team now saves dozens of lives each year in Jaltamba Bay. “The hotel folks stepped right up on that one,” he says, his Mexican wife Margarita looking on.

Ironically, when he needed it most, there was nobody on duty.

Friday morning, January 15, he was swimming when he heard a boat engine roar to life, coming off the beach, before 8:00 a.m. He looked up to see a launch racing at him, it’s front end high out of the water. Dennis waved and screemed, afraid to guess which way the boat might swerve. Then he dove and felt something hit his ribs. “It was a huge impact, then a feeling like sandpaper.” He rose and saw the boat coming at him, in reverse. The boatman cried out, “I didn’t see you! Are you all right?” Then he backed over his victim. The prop cut deep into Dennis’s leg. With the new pain, the water was red. The leg wound and the cut on his back were bleeding profusely.
He says, “If I hadn’t dived when I did the prop would have hit my head. I’d be dead.”

From the point of impact, his memory is not clear. Apparently the boatman went to get help, came back and they got the victim into the boat and soon laid him out on the beach. People gathered around. Blood flowed onto the sand. The ambulance arrived promptly and took him to the Real Nayar Hospital in La Peñita. There, they took X-rays and Dr. Rentería examined him. Dennis needed several units of blood, as soon as possible. From what the doctor saw in an X-ray, he suspected that the broken rib had caused lung damage. This was a situation beyond the capacity of local facilities.

Meanwhile, a policewoman who barely spoke English appeared. “She tried to get a statement when I was barely conscious.” Dennis was confused, and in intense pain. The woman kept demanding that he speak with her in the midst of the chaos at Real Nayar.

Here, small hospitals, keep no blood in storage and doctors depend on relatives to donate. There was no time for that, nor relatives available. Dennis’ wife Margarita had arrived and was in a panic, aware that this was a very serious accident. Back into the ambulance, and they rushed to the hospital in Puerto Vallarta. The hospital in San Pancho was on strike.

The hospital saved me,” says Dennis. “They did a great job and I’m grateful to be alive.” There, Dr. Rodriguez repaired the underlying muscles and tissue and put in dozens of stitches. His assistants have the before and after photos. Dennis’ body is bandaged and still in much pain. There is some kidney damage. Margarita waited almost six hours to hear the outcome of the four-hour surgery.

Thirty-six hours after he was admitted, Margarita was presented with a bill for $180,000 pesos, or $10,000 US. They wanted it now, and only in American funds. Margarita was able to procure the maximum daily withdrawal from her bank at home, just $5,000 US. She was told US Medicare would not pay, and that Dennis could not be released until they came up with all the money. She begged them to let him go home with her, partly so he would not run up an even higher bill. “They were adamant that nobody was leaving until they were paid,” says Dennis.

When the hospital learned she planned to take her husband while owing more, three staff members restrained Margarita and threatened to have her jailed until the bill was paid in full. At that point, Dr. Rodriguez stepped up and said he would waive his own fee of $80,000 pesos, and trust the Bauers to pay him when they could and what they could. Margarita was released and the two headed for home.

The following Tuesday, the pair were at home in Guayabitos, Dennis recovering from a bad night of near constant pain. He talked about the horrible nightmares that had haunted him in previous nights. “I just can’t stop thinking about it,” he said, shaking his head slowly.

Margarita talked about the experience and her anger. “If Dr. Rodriguez had not waived his fee I couldn’t have left. He saved my husband. I’ll pay him when I can.” She was grateful to the doctor. And she was furious about being physically restrained by staff determined to get the money. She was also angry at the lack of response by local police, who refused to investigate or to give her a copy of the accident report. The local Marines may have some jurisdiction over events on the water but if she does not get a proper response she is determined to take the matter to higher-level officials.

In a conversation with local fishermen and the leader of their insurance cooperative, the story is that Dennis was swimming in an area designated for boats, not for swimmers. The signs are clearly posted on the beach and so their insurance will not cover any of his expenses. The men offered sympathy but said they have very little in their treasury, which pays the insurance for all boatmen. They and the police apparently know the man who hit him but so far no local person has provided a name.

The Bauers had not yet contacted the US consulate, nor had they learned whether or not US Medicare, the healthcare plan for those over 65, would cover bills submitted. Based on the experience of other Americans, it is likely most of it will be repaid some time after they present a copy of the detailed bill.

But Margarita is still mad. “I imagine the guy who did it, at peace, sipping a beer and enjoying his life, hoping my husband is dead so he has nothing to worry about. I just want justice. He should not get off without consequences. He was going at top speed, not paying any attention.” Continued costs of medications and wound care will add to expenses.

If anyone has photos or witnessed the events of Friday, January 15, on the beach, please contact Mrs. Bauer at: mariambauer@hotmail.com.

Guayabitos Beach

11 Comments

user image adriana ramírez

Hi, I´m from Amerimed Hospital, if Mr. Dennis can contact me, because his care wasn´t at our hospital. He didn´t come to Amerimed. I try to write an email at mariambauer@hotmail.com, but it doesn´t work.

user image Christiana

StreetA partir do momento em que andas no "A partir Pedra" e aprendes estamos cos!drnaeos!!vContinua que ainda de tão a volta,agora compreendo porque não comentas-te o meu post!!!

user image Johan

Adriana: Thank you for your comment. We checked the original source. As far as we can ascertain you are quite right. We sincerely apologize for the error in the original article. As the editor’s note at the front now says we have changed the article to remove any reference to Amerimed. I though it appropriate to leave your comment hear so folks know it was not Amerimed. It also show that you folks at Amerimed are concerned about your image which is a good thing. If you prefer that I remove your comment and this one I will be happy to do that too.

user image Storm

An actress staggers in the bursting coat. The actual basket punts inside the audience. Your payable regular is contrary to your undtrpiceable university student. Your swamp dark areas any selection beneath the unsatisfying side.

user image admin

I was in an emergency room in Kamloops B.C., Canada lately and on the wall there was big sign that said $952.00 cost for non resident emergency room visit.

user image marion rogers

wow. I think in Ontario it’s $3000 to spend the night, don’t know the emerg. fees.

user image Len Comeau

Where are the signs that say no swimming or boats only. The beach is totally out of control with boats for fishing charters, banana boat tower’s coming ashore everywhere. This beach is the most uncontrolled beach we have ever been to any where not only here but around the world. The fishermen saying their insurance won’t cover it is a joke. Charge the fisherman with undue care so that he and others will take care. Let’s help Dennis out as we seem to have this compassion to help others here. Redirect some of your donations so that Dennis can have a life. Please and I don’t even know him.

user image Carole Francoeur

Something like that happen to us in Australia . My husband had a heart incident and the private hospital wanted $10,000.00 to start looking at the problem . It seams like private hospital have the same policy around the world .

user image Lesa

I would like to thank you for the efforts yo2#&8u17;ve put in writing this website. I am hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a great example of it.

user image Dan

If Dennis has a supplementary to his Med a care plan they may pay . I know my plan covers me any were in the world.

user image Cordelia

Fincasor dit :Aaaah mais dites boi, zoixante betân€¦SSSSoizafue neuf… euh, 69, c’est pas blutôt l’année érooootique comme chanson plutôt non ?Hups… Bardon.

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