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Healthcare prices are steadily rising in the US and a lot of people are traveling beyond the boarder for procedures and medicine. It has been estimated that approximately 1.4 million Americans travel abroad for medical care each year.(Braverman, 2016) There are some serious risks, but the possibility of being able to be healed at a fraction of the cost by far outweighs the risks to most.
There are many risks, but the one that sticks out like a sore thumb to me, is the language barrier. If you cannot understand the doctor, staff and can’t read the aftercare instructions, you can possibly place your health in greater danger than you were in prior to coming. If you don’t know how to speak the native tongue in that country, it might be a good idea to contact a foreign language center there, to see if you could pay someone to translate to you for the day. Also contact the office and find out if the doctor or some of the staff members speak English. This can save you a lot of time and help you better prepare.
Please also understand that your insurance will not cover any complications involved in your procedure. It is best for you to purchase medical complication insurance before you go, your travel insurance most likely won’t cover complications that may arise post-surgery either. Do your research to find out! Check the hospital ratings and what they are best known for treating, before booking your trip. Look up the doctor and see if anything has been written about the doctor on the web. You can find out a lot of information, by conducting thorough research. Remember…you are not his/her first patient…at least I hope not! If you are…then keep looking…wrong doctor!
Most websites in other countries are available in English or you have the option to translate it into English, so they should be fairly easy to navigate and get the information you need. If it is possible, find you healthcare professional through a referral. Have aftercare plans…where will you stay? How soon afterwards can you travel? What are the surgery risks? What medications will you need for post-care? How long will you have to take that medication? Look up the medicine to see what it is used for and what complications or issues it may cause. How clean is the hospital? How do they sterilize their equipment? Are the rooms private? The list can go on and on… This is the one-time in your life where you don’t want any surprises! Ask as many questions as you can come up with! Your health is all you have!
Here’s a list of hospitals abroad and what they specialize in. http://nomadcapitalist.com/2014/01/05/top-5-best-countries-medical-tourism/