Healthcare in Argentina is public and available to everyone. Because of this, anyone can walk into a hospital (the section for non-emergencies is called ‘Guardia’) and be treated without any sort of appointment. However, you should plan to arrive early in the morning and be prepared to wait for several hours before being seen by a doctor.
This is not, of course, the case with any kind of emergency. If you have a life-threatening injury or illness, all hospitals have emergency facilities, and if you are taken by ambulance, unless you specify, they will take you to the nearest public hospital. The private hospitals have emergency facilities, but you will have to pay out of pocket unless you are on their health plans.
It is the law in Argentina that everyone must have a form of photo identification on them at all times, and so for this reason hospitals don’t specify that they need to see your identification because it is assumed that everyone who walks through the doors will have it on them. You will need to show either your passport or your DNI, if you have one, when you go.
Many times, healthcare professionals have some basic working knowledge of English, so you should be fine in any hospital. The doctors will generally be able to speak to you in mostly English, as it’s a required portion of their medical training in Argentina, and many of them travel to the US and Europe throughout the year for conferences.
Surgeries and procedures in Argentina are a bit odd, because there is no scheduling system. It’s difficult to believe that this is an efficient system, and in fact, many people’s schedules get entirely disoriented due to a day’s notification for major surgeries. The practice throughout the country, including Buenos Aires, is to give a general idea of when a procedure or surgery is going to happen (perhaps a week or a month), but the patient will not get more than a day or two’s notice of the specific date and time. Even then, be prepared for this to change several times before actually coming to fruition.
This is true for elective as well as necessary procedures or operations. The doctor and medical facility where the operation is to take place are in charge of the paperwork, however you will need to take it upon yourself to make sure your doctor is staying on top of things. Because of the odd scheduling (or lack thereof) practice here, doctors will frequently feel no sense of urgency, especially for elective procedures, to get the paperwork done quickly.