Posts Tagged ‘low cost’

A round up of our recent discussions on Medical Tourism

In several previous posts, we talked about various Medical Tourism topics:
– including medical tourism in India due to recent publicity; including Superbug (New Delhi – 1 ) contamination of water sources in India, and
President Obama’s adoption of India’s medical tourism industry (and the medical tourism industry in general) as a target for his derision, rather than more justly, as a symbol of America’s failing health system.

I’ve also talked about why I see Colombia, as an ideal medical tourism destination, for several reasons; many of which I outlined in an article published on Colombia Reports.com**  and a new article on Yahoo! Associated content.

We’ve even discussed the Colombian government’s role and support of medical tourism, and medical tourists.

We’ve talked about the global effects of medical tourism, and the ethics of medical tourism

** Astute readers may notice that I have referenced Colombia Reports.com several times (links). Colombia Reports.com is the largest, in country English language newssource, and is widely relied upon by English speakers, like myself, living in Colombia.
Colombia Reports.com has published my work in the past – as part of their series of articles (by various writers) on medical tourism in Colombia so back in April, I traveled in April to interview Adriaan Alsema, the editor -in -chief.

Hope you enjoyed this retrospective review of Cartagena Surgery, and medical tourism in Colombia.

UK doctors say medical tourism to India spreading superbug


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Why Colombia for medical tourism/ surgical tourism?

Here are several of the reasons I have decided to focus on Colombia as one the emerging destinations for medical tourism:

1. It’s close to the United States (and North America): direct flights to several cities in Colombia are only 2 – 3 hours from Miami, Orlando and many other southern US cities.
This should be first and foremost in people’s minds – for more than just consumer comfort. Those coach-class seats can kill.
The risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), a potentially fatal complication of air travel (and other stationary conditions) is very real; and this risk increases dramatically with flight duration. Flights to Asia can be anywhere from 16 to 20 hours – which is an endurance test for even the healthiest and heartiest of individuals.

This risk for DVT/ VTE which can lead to pulmonary embolism, and death is enhanced in elderly people, people with chronic diseases (diabetes, lung diseases, etc.), obesity and people who have recently had surgery.   Some data suggests this enhanced post-surgical risk may persist for up to 12 weeks. While there are treatments to prevent thromboembolism or blood clots, none of these strategies are fool-proof. (Some of these safety strategies for air travel are mentioned in the above attached links).

Proximity – Close to the USA/ North America:
-Cheaper flights (all the flights to Asia are in the thousands – and you shouldn’t be travelling alone)
– Shorter flight duration (safer, more comfortable)

2. Cost:
This includes medical travel costs as briefly mentioned above. Most cities in Colombia are relatively affordable for other travel accommodations (though this is sometimes included if medical tourism packages/ planning are used.) This is in addition to the known cost-savings of medical care outside of the United States, which is the main reason behind the popularity of medical tourism. For example, a recent CT scan at a local hospital cost around $250.00, versus several thousand.

For actual surgical procedures, the savings are much greater. Heart surgery in the USA ranges from $80,000 – 180,000.. of course, if you have good insurance – your costs are much lower.. If, of course, you have good insurance – and insurance doesn’t cover everything!
In Colombia, heart surgery costs around $12,000 – and most cardiac programs  (and other surgeons/ hospitals) here accept American insurance – so your 20% co-pay is going to be a lot more reasonable..

3. Similar culture, similar values, similar ideals – yes, the language is different (but many people and providers speak English) but the underlying primary core values, and core medical values are the same. This means, that while the US medical system is plagued with problems – some of these problems are related to our values such as the sanctity of life, and the preciousness of life.. That value is shared here – which is important – since that is not the case in many places – even western europe where medicine, surgery and expensive treatments are rationed, and sometimes denied – particularly to people over the age of 65.

Medical providers, nurses, and staff here care about their patients the same way, we do at home.. And arguably, in most cases, the doctor- patient relationship is a lot closer, and more personal here. Doctors want and expect patients to contact them – they give patients their email and cell phone numbers on their business cards, for just that reason, and they aren’t put out or annoyed if you use it.. (I know, I’ve been with doctors when patients call.)

4. Surgical proficiency, medical education, and available resources – this is the primarily reason I am currently here in Bogota, Colombia; the high level of skill and training among surgeons in Colombia. These doctors are professionals in the highest sense of the word, and have attended well-known, well-respected and accredited institutions. In many cases, these surgeons are at the forefront of emerging technologies, that are just now becoming popular in the USA.
As far as medical technology goes – many of the doctors, and hospitals I visited have the latest technology, which rivals if not beats what I’ve seen in the US. (Now, for those of you who have never stepped inside a rural hospital in the United States – you would be surprised at what resources they do and DON’T have.) Americans in general, and American medical professionals tend to view the world from this little bubble, thinking that we always have the latest and greatest – even when we know it’s not always true. It may have been true twenty years ago, but sadly, it’s not always true now.

Come back for part two – and we’ll discuss Why not India, why not Thailand.. (but in the meantime, here’s some food for thought)

* Antibiotic resistant infections of any sort (MRSA, VRE) are still fairly rare in Colombia.
Superbug Hits UK from Medical Tourism from India

Indian Resistant Bacteria from Medical Tourism

More articles/ links on SuperBug

Of course, to be fair, our own food supply contributes to this problem too..

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A select number of autographed copies of Hidden Gem: A Guide to Surgical  Tourism in Cartagena, Colombia are now available on Ebay. 

I’ve had numerous requests for signed copies.  Since I live in St. Thomas, this creates quite the hassle for readers, shipping books back and forth, so I have ordered a few to be placed for sale on eBay, in the travel section.


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Hidden Gem: The unvarnished truth!

Guide to Surgical Tourism in Cartagena, Colombia

Welcome to everyone who came here after reading about the book in print ads!  This is the book page for Hidden Gem, a new guide book for surgical tourism.  As an independent writer, who is unsupported by large book publishing companies, medical tourism agencies or other large agenda driven corporations – National advertisement and fancy ad campaigns are out of reach.

Don’t be fooled by the lack of hype or flash.  This book has substance, and unvarnished truth.  There are no ads in my book. I didn’t sell space/ pages, or ratings to any company for financial backing, or help selling my book.  I didn’t ask for, expect or receive any favors, freebies, gifts or money from any of the people or places I interviewed for this book. That makes me different from most of the guide books out there! 

 The majority of guide books, especially the large ones, make money by selling ad space/ or featured property space in their books.  The triple AAA star ratings that hotels and restaurants have?  Well, they bought and paid for the ‘priviledge’ of having AAA include them in their books..

This book is also unique because it’s written by a healthcare provider, for consumers. It’s written in everyday language that doesn’t require readers to be doctors or medical personnel to understand.

As a practicing health care provider, I also know that the best health care is unrelated to flashy, expensive ad campaigns, marble floors in hospital lobbies, or gourmet catered meals in private suites.  Marble floors are elegant; catered meals are nice but they won’t improve your health, or prevent you from catching a hospital-acquired infection.  (Though the psychology of marble floors does suggest cleanliness; in reality the general sanitation of a facility is a much more rigorous process that takes place out of the public eye.

With that introduction; let me welcome readers again to my website.  Have a look around, and if this product interests you, click on one of the links on this site, or request it at your local bookstore..


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Still waiting for the first shipment of books to arrive!  (three weeks later).  Island mail service is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.  It makes you think about how much the postal service is taken for granted in the mainland; you send something – it arrives, usually in a generally orderly and timely fashion.  Not so much here –  It’s the sort of thing that living on the island, you just have to accept, shrug or  laugh at. 

Now, all my mainland readers that ordered the book when it first came out have already received it – and have been sending me comments (all good so far!)..

Now that Colin has been downgraded – there’s hope that the books will arrive by Friday.   (That way I can offer the book to island residents and visitors..)

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I’d like to welcome all my long time readers to my new Amazon.com Author’s page.  I have added this blog to my Amazon page, so viewers to either page will be able to keep up with book news, and events.

Hidden Gem: Best book ever written!

Guide to Surgical Tourism in Cartagena, Colombia

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Hidden Gem: A Guide to Surgical Tourism in Cartagena, Colombia

What do you really know about your doctor? Is  he just a nice genial person, a fellow golfer or crackjack surgeon? What really goes on behind the closed doors of the operating room? These are questions that thousands of people cannot answer, and most do not even  know what questions to ask. 

As an insider in  the world of surgery, I not only answer these questions, but I tell you more about the doctors of Cartagena, Colombia then you know about your long-term doctor down the street.  These answers are more important than ever,  now that our failing medical system is at a point of eminent collapse. Surgical specialties are  particularly hard hit, as older surgeons retire  with few new physicians choosing to take on the overwhelming responsibilities in a increasingly litigious society for less and less compensation.  

Surgical tourism is not the answer  for everyone but it’s certainly part of the equation and it might be solution for you. For about 20% of the cost of treatment in the United States, with no  waiting, patients can receive state of the art,  boutique surgical care in new and modern facilities.  

Hidden Gem: A guide to surgical tourism in  Cartagena, Colombia answers all of these  questions and more, while giving concrete, and detailed information to help plan your surgical trip. This travel sized book also provides  general health and safety tips for prospective  patients to prevent medical complications while traveling.  

Many Americans, even well informed, well educated professionals are unsophisticated when it comes  to being savvy health care consumers. We pay  far too much for far too little, with unrealistic  expectations and mediocre outcomes. This  book explains how to become a better  consumer of health care services, and how to  better communicate with health care providers.  This book may save your life.

This is the book we’ve all been looking for – with the factual information you need. 

For more information:


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