Hi. Everyone has their own opinion, so I'll give mine too! I have a "pre-pago" with Swiss Medical and have been quite happy with the medical attention. They have top doctors and excellent facilities. It is a costlier plan than most, but you get access to a lot. I recently had an operation (my foot), and was operated on in the Sanatorio Agote (built by the Clinica Suiza) and was impressed by how professional everything was, not to mention that the hospital room was like a 5 star hotel! I had my own "suite", it was very quiet, immaculate, and could even choose my dinner from a menu. Those things I know are trivial BUT it did make my stay more comfortable, and above all- my surgery went very well and I am recovering well.
There are excellent doctors in Buenos Aires, so I wouldn't doubt having an operation here, esp. one that is fairly routine. I also had a baby, then lost a pregnancy,- all here- and I had no complaints about the medical attention.
There is also an "international" center for foreigners who do not have a pre paid health plan, but I don't recall the name. The doctor who told me about it, and is associated, has the surname of Cohen, if that's any help...
Oh- I agree that Hospital Aleman may not be the "best". From what porteños have told me, it used to be one of the best, and is still good, but has declined over the years.
And I agree about recommendations; I took one from a doctor friend of my husband's and here I am a year and a half later recovering from the same surgery since this previously recommended doctor did not make the full (bone)correction I needed and my problem came back almost immediately. The doctor who operated had lots of "qualifications", but here that can sometimes be just political, so to speak...
This time, I did get recommendation BUT from someone who was treated by this doctor for a similar problem, and I went to see other "traumatologos" in the institution for a consultation and they even mentioned that this particular doctor was the "top" there.
Long story- but I think it helps to hear other people's experiences, esp. when it regards your health.
Recommendatuons are useless unless the person making the recommendation is knowledgeable. If I were to need surgery I would ask for a recommendation from my clinico (GP) whom I know to be highly qualified. I'd then ask around even more just to be sure. There are very qualified doctors here but you have to seek them out. Like everything else in Argentina, the medical system is a lot less controlled than in the US. In general, doctors who work for the major prepagos (Medicus, Omint. Swiss etc.) are carefully selected but when it comes to surgery it may be hard to get the top surgeon to handle your case. It's not unusual to have to pay over and above what your insurance pays for to get a dept. head or leading surgeon to do the operation.. This is not supposed to happen but it is the way things are done here.
Keep in mind that mistakes are made in the US and operations do not always go well but even in the US I would do a lot of investigating before allowing a doctor to perform surgery on me. Here you must be extremely careful.
Aleman was apparently good once but has deteriorated. It's true that Austral is extremely new and impressive and likely to be clean (a doctor here once told me that staff infections are common in Argentine hospitals). Most imporant is the surgeon. Check very carefully and check only with people who have had success with a specific surgeon or with other doctors who work for important institutions and who have truly superior qualifications.