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September 23, 2014 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Four Dangers of Medical Tourism

By Chelsea More Blogs by This Author

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the term medical tourism is used to describe the act of traveling abroad to receive medical care. It’s estimated that approximately 750,000 US residents travel abroad for medical procedures every year. While the reward may seem great, medical tourism is not without its risks. Some of those risks can even be life-altering or deadly. Here are four serious dangers associated with medical tourism.

1. Chronic Health Problems

In one widely publicized case, a Canadian woman traveled to Mexico to undergo a specific stomach surgery known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) for weight loss. She traveled with a group of people undergoing the same surgery, organized by a medical tourism company. In the procedure, typically three quarters of the stomach is removed to aid in weight loss. In the woman’s case, so much of the stomach was removed that she was incapable of drinking a full glass of water or eating more than half of a small yogurt container. The medical tourism company denies responsibility, and she will likely face complications from the surgery for the rest of her life.

2. Flying After Surgery

Recovery times vary for surgical procedures, and none of their protocols call for hopping on an international flight immediately following the operation. Flying after surgery poses two important risks. First, flying naturally increases anyone’s risk for blood clots whether they’ve just had surgery or not. If you have just had surgery, a blood clot can produce extreme complications. The second danger of flying post-surgery is that, if you develop complications while traveling, it may be several hours before you can land to address them.

3. Low Accountability

Whether you’re traveling through a medical tourism company and tour organizer or not, you may run into questionable business practices. If your doctor abroad does a poor job that leaves you with health problems, there may be little or no way to take legal action. Even if the tour organizer is from your home country, he or she may still be able to evade accountability even in the case of a lawsuit. These situations can leave you with chronic health problems and a never-ending stream of medical bills.

4. Communication Troubles

Finally, it’s worth noting that when you elect to undergo surgery abroad, you run the risk miscommunication. Speaking a different language than your care team is a major obstacle that can produce dire consequences. The operating table is not a place you want to encounter misunderstandings, especially those that pertain to your health and recovery.

Whether you’re considering undergoing bariatric surgery or any other type of procedure, contact a local clinic with extensive experience and low rates of complications. Your health is your wealth; care for it well.

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