5 Dangers of Medical Tourism

Health care in the US is extremely expensive – millions of people can’t afford to get the treatments they need. Knowing this, it’s probably no surprise that it’s becoming increasingly popular to embark on “medical tourism.” The idea of combining travel and more affordable necessary or elective surgery seems to make a lot of sense.

Of course, there are also risks associated with medical tourism that are important to consider.

Incomplete medical history

At home, you probably have a relationship with a primary health care provider – and, at least medically, no one knows you better than your regular physician. You’re likely to have years and years of medical records on file. While some of your records will be sent abroad, your entire history is not going to be sent, which means if you’ve forgotten about an allergy or another seemingly-unrelated condition, and that information isn’t sent over, it could affect the outcome of your surgery.

Foreign land, foreign rules

If you travel outside of the protection of the medical system in the US, you’re automatically assuming a risk. There’s no American Medical Association to turn to if something goes wrong – and, a malpractice suit is often far too expensive or even impossible to launch from overseas. If you do have a serious complication, the malpractice and liability recourse in other countries is not like those in the United States. It could take years to navigate if there is, in fact, any recourse at all.

Varied standards

It can be very difficult if you’re searching for options within a number of different countries with dozens of different hospitals, as each nation has its own licensing and certification protocols. These are often significantly different from the US. As there’s really no way of visiting the hospital or meeting with the physician prior to going on your trip, you’ll have to do quite a bit of research to make sure the surgeon is licensed and reputable, and that hospitals are accredited. It’s also important to determine if the hospital and physician are prepared to deal with possible complications of your surgery in addition to the actual procedure.

Post-surgical issues

For many patients, traveling a long distance after surgery isn’t a good idea, as it poses greater risk for conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. If a blood clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism can occur, which can be fatal.
Appropriate aftercare at home

Beautiful woman lying in the clinic, a plastic surgeon in the hands of the needleAnother major concern is appropriate aftercare when you’ve returned home from surgery. If you’ve had a procedure overseas, will your medical insurance cover your follow-up care or other procedures that may be related to the surgery? It’s important to find out before you make your decision.

When it comes to your health and well-being, taking plenty of time to weigh all of the pros and cons is a must – don’t ever feel rushed to make a decision that can potentially affect the rest of your life.

-The Alternative Daily


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