Thursday, March 7, 2013

Medical Tourism Risk in Thailand

Tired of being holed-up caused by nerve-'wrecking' rheumatoid arthritis? The answer is simple, replace your knees! Yes, you read just right. Try replacement arthroplasty, a procedure of orthopedic surgery and would do just the trick. It sounds as simple like the Terminator passing by a machine shop to replace his shattered leg blasted by the liquid metal villain. But seriously, as exaggerated it may sound, today's modern medicine responsible for blowing up bust sizes and adding an inch or two to your height surgically can do just almost as anything that you want with your sacred body.

With these advancements in medicine, medical facilities all over the world has their own forte in dealing with various diseases, including this new trend of anatomical customization. Japan is well known for having many skilled cancer specialists and have more heavy particle radiotherapy cases than other countries. Germany on the other hand offers quick, yet provides safe and advanced medical technology and even has higher hospital density than the US. States delved into this demand and took this opportunity to attract medical relief-seekers and turn this into revenue. However, enthusiasm for revenue may overlook safety measures.

Flight Risk

Thailand captures a large portion of the medical tourism all over the world. Growing by a yearly rate of 16 percent, its foreign medical services sector is expected to make an enormous 100 billion baht (3,355,250,000 USD) by 2015. The large volume of people of foreign people seeking medical relief in Thailand has to undergo stressful flights or voyages increasing the risk of blood clots in the legs such as venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Not to mention the risk of crashing the flight.

Tropical Immunity Conundrum

Medical tourists also carry the hazard of being exposed to diseases or strains of bacteria and viruses that exists in Thailand but is not common or may be rare from the patient's country or origin. While Thais may already be immune to such diseases, a foreigner dealing with this new biological harm may lead to serious effects. Diseases acquired from mosquito bites are one of the many problems a tourist may encounter especially if he comes from colder regions.

Legal Woes

Aside from life-threatening matters mentioned above, a medical tourist may also have to deal with poor handling of complaints that may arise from medical malpractice or even petty reasons like a patient was not satisfied with a nose-lift procedure. Example, an American patient who is exposed to petty lawsuits in the United States may find it overwhelming of how Thailand handle its legal matters addressing local health services. Or even if one may win a case, the problem would be that the hospital or doctor concerned may not have enough resources to pay the damage imposed by the court.

Financial Back-fire

While one may save up to 80 percent from a heart surgery in Thailand than in the United States, the catch is they may be cheap for a reason, and that reason might just be a low quality post-operative care.

Ethical Concerns

Another issue that must be taken seriously is that when a misinformed patient seeks medical practices that are illegal at one's country may endure the ire of people when they go back home. The morality of illegal organ donors, sex change and parental surrogacy are also matters that may face backlash from society. It should also be taken into consideration that local patients in Thailand suffer because doctors tend to attend more on the needs of foreigners because of higher pay.



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