When going abroad for obtaining medical or health services, patients should be aware of all the risks and benefits of medical care in another country. When you want to choose foreign health care service, it is necessary to find out whether they have experience working with foreign patients, specialization of the hospital or clinic, its credibility, and international accreditation.
In order to prevent the violation of your rights abroad, special attention should be paid to obtaining full and maximally objective information. For patients, it is better to know about such things before traveling abroad for treatment:
- The possibility of getting an initial consultation.
- The pricing policy of the hospital and forms of payment for the services provided, including the organization of the health trip itself, the availability of translators.
- Stages and duration of treatment including rehabilitation.
- Availability of accreditation of the medical institution;
- Medical preparations and methods to be applied.
- Risks of planned procedures and expected results.
- Doctors and the staff who will be involved in the treatment process.
- The living conditions of the patient and accompanying persons, the climate of the relevant area, the peculiarities of nutrition.
- Other fundamental conditions of treatment depending on the disease.
Problems during travel abroad for the purpose of treatment do not arise all the time, but it is better to be prepared. You are advised to see what can go wrong before you go to health tourism. Health tourism can be very useful, a trouble-free experience that combines a suitable treatment with a great visit to a foreign country. However, there is a list of risks, which you should consider before you make your choice. Treatment in distant countries is not as easy as when booking in a private or local hospital, and you need to decide whether it is worth the extra effort and risks that you can save. Here are a few potential risks that need to be considered when choosing treatment abroad.
Unfamiliar locality and culture
A trip to a foreign country can sometimes be confusing. Each country has its own peculiarities, customs, strange currency, different food and drinks, and worst of all is a completely different language that you may not understand. If you worry about these aspects then your stress can have a real impact on the outcome of your treatment.
Moreover, if you do not quite understand your doctor, then you may not realize what to expect after your treatment. You may have an unnecessary concern that appears in the procedure or vice versa, you may assume that a complication is the norm for your operation or procedure and does not require treatment.
Difficulties of traveling
There is a big difference between traveling to a local hospital in your home country with your relatives or friends and traveling internationally for treatment. Such treatment can mean that you will have to go a long way to the location of the chosen clinic in some discomfort.
If you have a toothache had a hernia operation before or you are planning to replace a knee. In addition, you should understand that after treatment abroad you would have to go home soon after surgery so that you can eventually fly in a cramped economy class with a recent surgical wound. Any of these trips can put your health at risk.
Presence of infection risks and standards of the clinic
Many hospitals in Israel, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and other countries may have infection rates lower than in US hospitals and are an excellent standard. Nevertheless, patients get what they pay for. Clinics in developing countries may sometimes not to be the highest standard that you expect to find.
By carefully choosing a clinic and paying a little more than the lowest available price, you can reduce the risks of infection. You have the right to ask the clinic to provide you with information about the level of infection and all unpredictable cases.
Legal difficulties and issues
The law of the country regulates clinics abroad; therefore, any lawsuits that you need to take can be very complex and expensive in pursuit. Moreover, foreign laws cannot provide you with the same level of protection as you would expect in your home country. Keep in mind that even if something goes wrong, you cannot get the compensation that you deserve and expect.
Unpredictable postoperative complications
Sometimes there may be some complications after the operation, which leads to not very pleasant consequences. Usually, there are some inconveniences if you have to stay a few more days in the hospital after the operation. For additional days spent in the hospital, you can miss your flight or even have some visa problems and additional costs for food, accommodation and so on.
It is quite normal if you have a question about who will pay for the additional services you will need. If something goes wrong, the clinic can cover your additional expenses, but you still have to pay extra for your companion (relative or friend), to stay longer and re-register his flight. You should pay attention to the small print to know for sure who pays for what.
Returning to the home
Postoperative problems are the biggest shortcoming of medical treatment abroad. If there is any complication after your plastic surgery or any procedure, then you will be very reluctant to return to a distant country. It is very important to use an authoritative medical tourism organization, a hospital or a clinic that can provide you with a guarantee or cover post-operative treatment in your home country. Especially if you are going to make a complicated procedure that has a high risk of complications after surgery.
If you are going to have health tourism, you should study carefully the contract with the clinic or medical tourism company. Patients always have their rights and you should not sacrifice anything. You can always find the necessary information on the website or ask directly. It may seem expensive, but you should call the clinic to find out all the details as it relates to your health.