Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD

Medical Tourism - Buyer Beware

Have you ever noticed how things fall in place. Just last week I had one of my patients call me with a proposal or offer. She wanted "several" plastic surgery procedures performed. She was researching and come across a medical tourism agency that would fly her to Columbia, put her up in a hotel, have the surgery, all of the fees and meals paid for only $12,000.00. She wanted a face/necklift, breast augmentation, and several areas of liposuction. This is something I would not do in one stage, the surgery is too lengthy to be done as an outpatient and go home. This is my belief. Patient safety has been and always will be my number one priority. So she is willing to go to a country she's never visited, a doctor she's never met or researched, a hospital or clinic she has no clue about and potentially risk her health and safety in her quest for a more appealing image. Dr Robert J Brueck M.D. FACS, a Fort Myers Board Ceritified Plastic Surgeon frequntly blogs about matters of health and beauty.

Why is this important? Just after I talked to my patient and told her I could not match their prices I came across a brief article about medical tourism. It is growing and becoming more problematic. It is so risky. In their article they discussed a Swedish lady Erin who was 31 years old and seeking a breast augmentation. Through the Internet she researched medical tourism agencies and responded to one that arranged for her to have it done in Poland. The hospital where it was performed was an old dilapidated hospital that was totally different than the one depicted in the website ad. Due to inferior anesthesia routine and post op recovery care regimen she suffered severe brain damage. It took 7 hours to transfer her to an ICU unit across the street! It has now been 6 months since her tragic encounter and now she is in a nursing home and in a totally vegetative state FOREVER! Her life ruined - her family lost and grieving.

There is NO regulation of medical tourism agencies and the strict standards adhered to by clinics, doctors, and hospitals in the United States don't exist for the most part in foreign countries. In the end it comes down to one thing... MONEY! So I ask you how much is your life worth to risk it under suspect circumstances to save a few dollars? Only you can answer this.

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