If you’ve read any of my thrillers you’ll know that I’m a fan of traveling. Agents Otto & Gaspar are no stranger to globe-trotting either. But they aren’t just sightseeing. They are on a mission to Hunt For Jack Reacher.
Although travel comes with pleasure, it can certainly come with peril. While researching for my upcoming release Ten Two Jack, which is novel #7 in my Hunt for Jack Reacher series, I came across some fascinating information on the subject of medical tourism.
Many Americans are mixing pleasure with peril by receiving medical care abroad. Rather than being placed on a waiting list, a growing number of people are opting to travel to places like South America and Southeast Asia and more. There, they receive heart transplants, plastic surgery, and even cancer treatments at a fraction of the cost of care in some western countries. Costa Rica, Turkey, and Mexico are also among the more popular destinations.
Many of these foreign hospitals provide an almost resort-like experience that includes private shuttles, private chefs, spas and swimming pools.
While the most common medical procedures done abroad are cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery, many countries specialize in different areas of medical expertise.
Brazil, for example, tends to specialize in cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery. Both Turkey and India boast extremely short wait lists and large savings. Most medical procedures in India cost 65% to 90% less than the same procedure in America. Turkey is known for its quality care for those seeking radiation, transplants or neurosurgery. South Korea is highly regarded for its state-of-the-art equipment, technologically advanced hospitals, and well-trained staff.
Of course, we all know the idiom “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
There are many factors to consider before going abroad for medical procedures. According to the Center for Disease Control, it is important to consider any potential communication barriers due to language differences. Another risk is exposure to foreign bacteria. Flying after a surgery must be done with caution due to the risk of developing blood clots while in the air.
Image courtesy of CDC.gov
There are many other kinds of risks to consider as well. The rapidly developing medical tourism industry provides significant opportunities for con artists. Not all so-called medical practitioners are heroic or well-meaning. You can read more about where medical tourism went wrong in Part 2 of this series.
Despite the risks, medical tourism might be the more attractive option for those who are in serious need and who aren’t able to easily receive medical attention at home. In fact, the beautiful resorts and world-class medical facilities alone may be worth a visit, even if just to see them with your own eyes.