According to the CDC, millions of Americans every year participate in medical tourism – which is traveling to another country for medical treatments and surgeries. As a result, it’s very possible someone you know (or perhaps even yourself) has participated in medical tourism before.
There are many reasons people may choose to involve themselves in that including – but not limited to – finding cheaper costs for a procedure in another country, being culturally tied to or otherwise having roots to the country you’re seeking medical treatment from, or the procedure is simply unavailable here while being available abroad.
While many of the reasons for medical tourism may make sense, the practice is not without its risks. With that in mind, what are the risks associated with medical tourism?
What Risks Are Associated With Medical Tourism?
As with any medical procedure, there is always going to be some level of risk involved. That said, the risks associated with medical tourism can be very high. This is not to be overly critical of medical professionals in other countries. Though you should keep in mind that the medical standards in other countries can vary widely.
Other risks include infectious diseases that may be prevalent and even rampant in other parts of the world that you’re not accustomed to. Infections could manifest at the site of the surgery or even get into your bloodstream and cause serious complications. And because you may be advised to wait several days before flying back after having had surgery, you could find yourself needing to see emergency medical care in another country you aren’t familiar with.
Additionally, because we’re still living with the threat of spreading COVID-19 and new variants, you could find yourself testing positive and having to wait even longer to travel back than anticipated… increasing the risk of needing additional medical care overseas before you can return home.
What Are The Ethical Issues Associated With Medical Tourism?
There are some who may mention extreme cases that could be hearsay of unlicensed surgeons, ill-equipped facilities, and more. For the purposes of discussing medical tourism, we’re going to put those ideas aside and assume the facility and practitioners are all on the up-and-up.
Even in that case, there are ethical issues that need to be considered. What may end up being most important is having a strong understanding of the legal system in the country where the procedure is taking place. They may not have malpractice insurance or protections for patients that you’re used to here… or those protections may not extend to non-citizens. This could lead to a situation where a procedure does not go as intended, and yet you have no recourse. That is just one of many ethics-related issues you’d need to have a very firm grasp of before seriously considering medical tourism as a viable option.
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Though many may turn to medical tourism to pursue hair restoration options, the risks often outweigh the benefits. In fact, here at RHRLI, we’ve had to help people salvage the hair on their scalp after a botched hair transplant overseas. Why pursue that option when there’s a trusted hair restoration facility right in your backyard?
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