Risks of Medical Treatment Abroad

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Typically, medical tourists are people from richer, more developed countries travelling to less developed countries like India, Mexico, Thailand or Turkey to access low cost healthcare, helped by cheap flights, weak local currencies and online access to information.

Other type of health tourists are individuals who travel to other countries seeking medical treatment or healthcare services that may not be easily accessible in their home countries. These individuals often come from countries with limited healthcare infrastructure, inadequate medical facilities, or where certain medical procedures are either unavailable or too expensive. As a result, they seek medical care abroad, where they can access high-quality healthcare at more affordable prices or receive treatments that are not available in their home countries.

Medical tourism allows patients to address their health concerns, improve their quality of life, and potentially save money compared to receiving the same treatment in their home countries. However, medical tourism can also present challenges related to language barriers, cultural differences, and potential disparities in the standard of care.

The main risks are associated with the lack of discussion or not fully correct diagnosis. Sometimes, previously submitted documentation is not clear enough, or the diagnosis made by the previous physician turns out to be incorrect. Of course, every patient, before surgery or starting treatment, in the event of the slightest doubt, undergoes re-diagnosis in order to be 100% sure.

Communication difficulties and language barriers, as well as the stress involved in having treatment in a foreign country, particularly when there are no friends or family nearby to provide support. Having someone who you can rely on during the treatment may very helpful.

The post-operative care may prove arduous due to inadequate documentation or unidentified implants used during the procedure, potentially hindering effective follow-up and impacting the overall satisfaction of the results. Moreover, the need for additional treatments might arise, yet they may not be covered by the patient’s home country or insurance company, adding unexpected financial burdens. In case of complications, the cost of emergency evacuation might become a concern if local management proves insufficient. Furthermore, traveling by plane too soon after certain medical procedures can pose dangers, elevating the risk of blood clots. Perhaps most concerning is the lack of medical malpractice insurance in certain hospitals, where patients undertaking procedures assume all risks, contributing to the lower treatment costs in comparison to countries with medical teams held accountable. These factors emphasize the significance of thorough research and careful evaluation when contemplating medical tourism as an option.


Advice for Treatment Abroad

Taking into consideration the risks mentioned above, a patient considering medical treatment should consider few essential aspects, such as:

Continuity of care – the surgical procedure is only one part of the treatment for a disease;

Discussion of risks and post-operative care and rehabilitation with the treating physician;

Contingency plan. Be prepared and have a backup plan if the surgery doesn’t go as planned;

Information about the location of local emergency facilities and the process for medical evacuation to your home country. Check whether your insurance adequately covers these possibilities, and be familiar with your legal rights and alternatives;

Check the facility and doctors. Request for a full disclosure of the credentials, experience, and accreditation of the surgeon who will perform the surgery overseas and inquire about the use of assistants during the procedure. We highly recommend seeking medical treatment at facilities with international accreditation such as: International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Joint Commission International (US), and Trent International Accreditation Scheme (UK);

Being sure what the procedure entails, where it will take place, the complications and success rates, the estimated recovery time, and how long you should remain in the country;

You can avoid many of the mentioned above risks. Try not to do everything alone. Having a concierge company to arrange for free your medical treatment offers a host of invaluable benefits that ensure a seamless and stress-free healthcare experience. With a dedicated team of professionals at your disposal, you gain access to a vast network of top-tier healthcare providers, ensuring you receive the best possible care tailored to your specific needs. From helping you collect your documentation, comparing treatment plans and choosing the optimal one, to coordinating the whole process of traveling and receiving services, Intercontinental Care streamlines the entire process, saving you precious time and energy. Moreover, our expertise allows for personalized guidance, ensuring you make well-informed decisions about your healthcare journey.