Boca Raton: Here’s Where You’ll Live or Die. Hospital & Urgent Care Reviews

Private schools. Sushi restaurants on every corner. Old people.

These are the things that Boca Raton, my hometown, is known for.

Also, I would like to make the comparison known that a bathroom in Boca Raton is, on average, about 6 times larger than a bathroom anywhere in New York.

(Maybe it’s because there are more people in wheelchairs here, more disabled citizens, or maybe we’re just fat. But seriously I could barely squat in a New York bathroom. Ya’ll are weird about that.)

Living in Boca Raton as a young woman with a chronic illness has been an interesting adventure. There are some advantages–like plenty of handicap parking and quick ambulances. Then there’s the fact that doctors are almost always surprised to see anyone under fifty seeking medical care. It’s like seeing a unicorn in this town. With a liberal amount of nursing homes and even a fancy new alzheimer’s center, Boca isn’t exactly the hub of medical innovation–but it does have it’s advantages for the less than able population, young or old.

There are three main hospitals in the area. One in West Boca, one in East, and one on the borderline of Boca and Delray Beach.

Boca Raton Regional Hospital

PrintThis is my home away from home. And it’s changed a lot. It’s been completely renovated over the last few years. The waiting rooms are large and bright, generally very clean and rarely crowded. The emergency department is massive. Just a zillion beds and many hallways and hordes of nurses. All of the emergency cubicles are now separated by actual walls and doors. During season it can get overbooked though, but I’ve only ever seen them set up make-shift hallway rooms on two occasions. Rooms usually have a flat screen TV, adjustable lights, sinks and nurse call buttons.

Getting admitted? There are private and double rooms. Double rooms have one bathroom to share. Not all rooms have showers/baths. I remember being on one floor where they had shower stalls down a hallway. The rooms are mostly renovated except for the bathrooms which look like they’ve been the same moldy grey for forty years.

Food is generally good for hospital food and there’s a bistro in the main part of the hospital that has real people food.

I’ve seen many different ER doctors–Dr. Strong is there often and he’s been great. None have been “bad” enough to stand out in my memory.

Want the real Boca Raton experience? Check out their Rockwell Suites.

These rooms have:

  • An entertainment center with a flat-screen television, DVD player and access to a large selection of DVDs
  • Wireless internet
  • Mini-refrigerator
  • Pull-out sofa bed for family members
  • Large, modern and well-appointed bathrooms
  • Meal service on fine china
  • Bathrobe and toiletries
  • A cozy library offering new and classic books

I’m hoping one day my frequent flyers might land me these luxurious accommodations.

I’ve probably stayed at this hospital twenty times (at least) over the last twenty years. It’s mostly because it’s always been the closest to my home, but I do prefer it over West Boca.

West Boca Medical Center

wpid-Photo-Jun-22-2008-803-PMThis was the hospital I was brought to most often as a kid. I stayed here on and off for about a month when I was little for pneumonia and bronchitis. The pediatric unit was great then–but it’ s been some time since I’ve been back for myself. (Though I hear it has also been renovated.)

I took someone to their ER a few months ago and while the facility is pretty cluttered and the rooms are separated only by curtains (and are realllll small) we managed to get in and out of the ER in forty-five minutes. That’s some record breaking doctor-ing. Judging by the state of their ER the care might be good, but I’d be nervous about being admitted there since I’d worry that their rooms are in the same state. Heard they have a great maternity complex though.

Delray Medical Center

delray_medHigh volume of seniors. Generally pretty clean. They do the most surgeries and special procedures. I’ve had the pleasure of begging to be knocked out already in their surgical prep unit many a times…But their radiology department is great, knowledgable and they have a screens in their surgical waiting rooms that give you updates on all of the patients (anonymously done by a patient number to protect privacy.)

Rooms are almost all two-seaters. The hospital layout is also bizarre with patients on the first floor. Has a good deli across the street.

You’ve also got a few choices when it comes to urgent cares…

There are two that I frequent.


GetMed: Boca Raton

lsThis one is on Jog Road/Powerline in the plaza with Butcher Block. It’s only been there about two years I believe…Always SUPER clean, has a fridge full of water bottles complimentary. Never had a wait longer than five minutes. Exam rooms are also new and clean. The main doctor knew all about POTS when I first met her. She’s been able to help me get IV’s on the weekends before I had the port. They did have a low supply of IV bags though. It’s a great place to go if you’ve got a cold and need antibiotics or if you have any kind of non life-threatning injury.

MD Now Boca Raton

Boca-Raton_1200x6281-1200x628Usually a bit longer of a wait time. Doctors are a revolving door, never sure who you’ll get. I had a bad experience here that I wrote about a while back. That being said, I have had more good experiences here with great nurses and generally getting an IV without a problem. Generally pretty clean, also complimentary water bottles (and lollipops if you’re feeling brave.) They also have some prescriptions available at checkout. But remember, if you’re in Florida–you can go to any Publix and get some antibiotics free of charge! (So check before you pay for them at MD Now!)

I usually ask patients to private message me about doctor recommendations, but my inbox has gotten a little insane lately with reader questions, so I’m biting the bullet and making a public list. Here are some local doctors I would recommend

  • Dr. Santa Maria (GP, concierge practice.)
  • Dr. Silverman (GP, concierge practice.)
  • Dr. Urban (Pain management.)
  • Dr. Nachlas (ENT)
  • Dr. Hepner-Dion (Audiologist)
  • Dr. Schramm (Allergist)
  • Dr. Naus (Gastro)
  • Dr. Fliescher (OBGYN)
  • Dr. Hirsch (Infectious Disease)
  • Dr. Birriel Jr. (Pediatric Pulmonologist)

For me, it’s not a long list by any means. For every good doctor you find, you’ll unfortunately find ten bad ones.

On the topic of concierge practices:

A) No, I don’t get some kind of commission for sending them patients.

B) Yes, I think in the long run the extra fee is worth it especially if you have a rare/chronic illness.

C) The deal is that you can call them day or night DIRECTLY.

Okay. So who’s ready for a bagel, a stroll through Mizner Park–and an unexpected medical emergency?