Facebook Pixel

Traveling to other countries for surgery?

By November 25, 2008 - 9:24am
Rate This

I have heard about people traveling more and more often to other countries to have surgical procedures because they cost so much less than they do in this country. Sometimes they are for cosmetic procedures but there are also more serious surgeries, like heart or back procedures.

It seems worrisome to not be in your own home country when you are having surgery but clearly there are a lot of people who do it and are fine. Is this a good option for someone who needs a procedure and can't afford it or is uninsured? How would a person even start researching such an option?

Add a Comment2 Comments

Getting health care overseas is not new, but in the past it was a thing for the rich and famous only. I have traveled a lot and I can tell you that I have seen first hand top quality health and dental care outside of the USA. We are not the only society that offers quality care. There are many countries with very advanced healthcare delivery systems. Many physicians from countries such as India, Middle East, Argentina, Peru, China among others, have attended medical schools in the United States and upon returning to their native countries have established medical practices and hospitals that offered very good health care and at very reasonable prices and with all the latest technology too! Many American doctor have trained in Mexico which is known for its top quality medical training. Here is a website that lists a few hospitals overseas and the level of care they offer: https://www.healthbase.com/hb/pages/hospitals.jsp

John Hopkins for example has many partnerships around the world and maintains high standards of care across any nation where they have a presence. As healthcare in America continues to challenge our pockets, or the numbers of uninsured continues to increase, or more Americans retire overseas (big trend right now!) I think overseas healthcare will be a very viable options beyond cosmetics. India for example performs a high number of cardiac related surgeries at a fraction of the price it would cost in America and with better outcomes. Stem cell is another area where overseas markets are gaining ground over the United States. Anyone considering a surgery or stem cell treatments overseas should do research first. Some of the drawbacks? Many countries do not have the accreditation requirements like JCAHO in the USA, but its International arm is making its way as overseas facilities seek to be recognized globally with a highly recognized accreditation process. Also if something goes wrong the patient may not have legal leverage to sue a doctor like we do in the United States. Here is a great article that may help you expand your understanding of globalization of healthcare http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11919622

November 25, 2008 - 9:56pm

"Medical Tourism"

Did you know there was a TERM for what you are asking about?! I am surprised, too! I have never heard of medical tourism, but it sounds like it is gaining popularity.

It looks like there are a few tools that health care seekers can use, in order to find the best hospitals, doctors, treatment facilities, etc. The Joint Commission International (JCI) is an accreditation organization, much like the entities that accredit hospitals and health centers in the United States. They have strict standards that must be met and upheld in order to claim "joint commission international accredited" status, and I would personally only go to a facility that is accredited by the JCI.
For more nformation: http://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/

The CDC's site, "Seeking Health Care Abroad" (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh2-HealthCareAbroad.aspx) has some great information about traveling abroad for health and medical reasons.

So, while I do not know the answers to your other questions, these links above are the first places I would start researching!

This seems to be a popular type of vacation/travel reason, and there are many organizations popping up to help patients travel abroad.
The Medical Tourism Association is one such place (not sure if it is credible; I would depend on the CDC and JCI information).

November 25, 2008 - 1:50pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.