The Dangers of Medical Tourism
It was recently revealed that a British woman died during a cosmetic surgery operation at a clinic in Bangkok. The patient was only 24, and had travelled to Thailand for minor corrective surgery to her back, following a pervious operation.
The unnamed British tourist unexpectedly stopped breathing whilst under anaesthesia during the operation, and although attempts were made to resuscitate her, their attempts failed. Her surgeon has been charged with recklessly causing her death, and has been bailed pending a trial. The clinic has also be closed, pending further investigations.
This very sad case is a perfect example of why medical tourism can be extremely dangerous, with privately run clinics all over the world offering discounted procedures with little to no respect for proper health procedures such as sterilisation of equipment and authorised supplies.
It is exactly this reason that most travel insurance policies do not provide cover for medical tourism, and people travelling abroad specifically to receive elective treatment.
Furthermore, this is also the reason that most insurers and assistance companies will advise anyone in need of medical treatment abroad to attend a state or public facility, rather than a privately run clinic. The state hospital may not look luxurious (what A&E department does?!), but at least you can rest assured that the doctor’s there will have adequate knowledge, skills and facilities to treat you properly.
Unfortunately private clinics can look inviting, but most are first and foremost a business there to make money, whereas state hospitals are there to provide the best emergency and on-going medical care possible.
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