America spends more on healthcare than any other nation, and in fact, healthcare in the United States is outrageously expensive in comparison to most parts of the world. The rising cost of healthcare in America has made it so some are looking for alternatives in other parts of the world.
A number of uninsured or underinsured Americans have been looking for less expensive alternatives to procedures they may need or want done. This has spawned a fast-growing sector of the travel industry called, “medical tourism”. This simply means that other than just simply the purpose of traveling for a vacation, Americans are traveling abroad for medical treatment. The appeal is that procedures in other countries are often performed for a fraction of the cost it would that it normally would be in the United States.
Places like Panama, for example, has a first class healthcare system comparable to the United States. And it is not the only country known for having a good healthcare system. But just like the United States, just because you can find good care, you can also find doctors and facilities that may not be so great. Just because someone had a good experience with their care abroad you should not always expect the same result for yourself. Instead of saving money there are people who have many horror stories connected with traveling elsewhere for procedures.
Here are some of the dangers you can encounter….
One of the first things you should watch out for is the standards of a doctor, medical staff and facility that will administer care. If things are not done in a sterilized environment, all types of complications could ensue. Unsanitary conditions could lead to infections, disfigurement, and even death. Common healthy practices like using clean disposable gloves, and sterilized medical equipment is the standard in the United States. Use your best judgment. If you do not see high standards being imposed for the beginning, end your visit immediately to avoid complications later.
Lack of follow up and after care…
When you travel abroad for the care of a doctor and get a medical procedure done, many people will not stay in the country until they are completely healed. Most people will travel home and follow up with their own doctors. This is can be risky because the doctor that did the procedure would be the most knowledgeable about what was done to you. It would be ideal to see the doctor who performed the procedure for a follow up appointment to examine the effects of the procedure. Some people report receiving no follow up or after care in facilities abroad.
Lax medical credentials…
In the United States healthcare is regulated and doctors are licensed through a medical board. Other countries do not always have strict rules on who can perform procedures and the level of education and experience that a person may have to practice medicine. Some people can be subjected to unethical treatments or be victims of malpractice.
While many people will travel for things like hip replacements, dental surgery or heart surgery many more will travel for elective procedures like liposuction, breast augmentation and buttocks enhancements.
I found a video of a woman who went to the Dominican Republic to have elective surgery and did not have a good experience. Watch the video, and of course I will be giving my commentary after…
(55) Columbus woman shares medical tourism experience, warns others of risks – YouTube
(Posted on YouTube by WBNS 10TV)
The woman clearly states if she had of done more research this would of not have happened to her. She also states that she knew of people who had the same procedures and had a good outcome, but when she had her procedures done by the same woman, she was not pleased with the results. Her story is heartbreaking because so many women are desperate to have liposuctions and breast augmentations, but can’t necessarily afford them. They are susceptible to going abroad for procedures and while many will be pleased some will be paying for a nightmare.
I don’t want anyone to be pressured into making a decision that may cause them as much mental anguish that this woman has suffered. She is literally lucky to be alive, but maybe sharing her story will save someone from being so quick to go have major surgery in another country without knowing that there are some serious risks.
What can you do to ensure you have a good experience when traveling for care?
Do your research. Yes, word of mouth is always good, but do not rely on this alone. As you saw in the video, the woman knew of people who had wonderful results with the same doctor that gave her disastrous results.
Make sure you have adequate after care. Some would recommend you seeing a doctor in the United States before your procedure and getting an opinion about the procedure you will be having abroad. You could also take your medical records to the doctor abroad and have a consult before scheduling the procedure you will be getting done. This doctor could also be better informed just in case your aftercare will have to take place back in America.
Shop around for alternatives in the United States that you can afford before deciding to go out of the country for care. Don’t always assume you cannot find a good price in America. Sometimes if you price compare you could find an affordable amount that you could arrange a payment plan for.
This post was not to discourage medical tourism; it was only to bring awareness in the hopes that more Americans will be safe. If you have traveled abroad for a procedure, feel free to drop a comment about your experience, maybe you will help someone who may need some information that this post did not provide.
What are your thoughts?
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