Although there are many benefits associated with medical tourism, there are also certain risks that must be weighed before making a final decision to travel abroad.
Varying standards and Medical Tourism
Varying standards with regards to hospitals and physicians can be a problem if you are searching for options within multiple countries with dozens of hospitals. Each country will have its own licensing and certification protocols which may vary significantly from your own country. As you have no way of actually visiting the hospital or meeting the physician prior to your trip, you will have to do research to make sure hospitals are accredited and surgeons are licensed. MedicalTourism.com offers a wealth of information and tools that will make this job much easier.
Travel after surgery
Traveling long distances after surgery also poses certain risks such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. DVT may be defined as a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. If the blood clot breaks off and travels through the blood stream to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism may occur which is potentially fatal. Using simple preventive measures, however, medical tourism patients can reduce the chance of blood clotting and increase their likelihood of surgical success.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
• Getting up and walking around every 2 to 3 hours.
• Exercise your legs while you’re sitting
• Drink plenty of water, and avoid drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it.
Additionally, medical compression stockings and anti-clotting medications such as Warfarin and Heparin, may be prescribed by physicians for high risk medical tourism patients.
Minimal legal recourse in case something goes wrong
It is important to remember that if you do have a serious complication, other countries' malpractice and liability recourses may be different from those in your own country. Also keep in mind that some hospitals may require a medical tourism patient to sign a legal waiver stating that if they do file a lawsuit over the surgery, the lawsuit must be adjudicated in the country where the medical procedure was performed.
Coordinating appropriate aftercare once you come home
This is one the biggest concerns for medical tourism patients considering traveling abroad for surgery. What happens if I have a complication once I return home? Who will I turn to? Will my doctor even see me? These are valid questions that must be addressed by the hospital you are seeking care at.
Make sure to inform your primary physician that you will be going overseas and try to get him or her involved in the process. You may also want to try and schedule a call between your primary physician and your international doctor to discuss your case. This is wise not only at a medical level (you want your international physician to know as much as possible about your case history), but also has the potential to establish trust between both parties, making your physician empathetic toward your situation and wanting to be an active participant in the success of your procedure.
Presently, and in order to minimize potential complications, many international hospitals and physicians do maintain close contact with their medical tourism patients once they have returned home. Therefore, you should not feel shy about contacting them if you feel something is wrong. At the very least your overseas physician can offer recommendations about what medications to take, who to see, or possibly even explain details of your condition to another doctor.