Medical TourismMedical tourism is becoming a more common reason for Americans to travel abroad. Although the term 'tourism' suggests leisure travel, medical tourists are traveling abroad to receive elective medical and cosmetic surgeries. Additional medical treatments are sure to be offered in the coming years. The motivation for medical travel is because medical care abroad can be provided at a fraction of the cost of care here at home. If the quality of care can be assured, then each year we will see an increased volume of medical tourists.
Before You Travel
Do your homework. Make sure that the facility and the physicians who will be caring for you are high caliber. Find out if the institution has been accredited by international accrediting organizations. Request references and contact them. If you are having surgery, then you are entitled to know where the surgeon trained and his qualifications to perform the desired operation. If you are having a heart bypass operation, for example, verify that this physician operates on a high volume of bypass patients every year, so that his skills are sharp. What is the surgeon's complication rate? Is the facility a teaching hospital? Will physicians-in training be participating in your care? While you may be agreeable to this, it is best to know this in advance. In addition, if you have other active medical issues, you will want to ensure that there are well trained specialists available. Remember, the post-op care and treatment are more important than what occurs in the operating room.
Do your due diligence methodically. It will take more time and research to arrange for foreign medical care than it would for medical treatment here. We take it for granted here that transfused blood is safe and that surgical instruments are sterile. Hepatitis B vaccine, required of physicians here, may not be standard practice abroad.
Get Travel Vaccinations
Just like any international traveler, you, and those accompanying you, are at risk for a host of infectious diseases. Depending upon your destination, these may include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Typhoid
During the Flight
Medical tourists may be taking long plane rides. In addition to jet lag, air travelers are at risk for developing serious blood clots. Here are some tips to prevent them.
Medical Tourist Caveats!