Notes from Dr. Jenq

Medical Tourism

With a stagnant economy and limited finances, the promise of cosmetic surgery at a steep discount abroad can be seductive. A quick search on the internet, and you can find numerous websites offering everything from breast surgery to hip replacement in places like Thailand, Mexico, and Slovania. However, before you jump on the next flight to Mexico, here are some issues to consider: 

What governing body licenses the surgeon and the facility? Licensing organizations keep tabs of how doctors and facilities are performing by ensuring a level of professionalism in the care of patients.

What are their protocols for patient safety? Issues to consider are what steps are taken to ensure that blood transfusions are performed to minimize mistakes, maintenance of universal isolation precautions, and what is done to prevent medical errors in the operating room.

Who will take care of me if something goes wrong back at home? Many doctors are reluctant to accept patients who develop complications after they have been treated abroad.

In the event of a suboptimal outcome, who is liable? There may be limited avenues for getting compensation or legal judgements in the event of serious complications or misconduct.

Take home message? Seriously do your homework, ask lots of questions, and consider your own personal comfort level before making a decision which has to do with your body and your health.