Monthly Archives: September 2011
Since we’ve talked about single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) here at Bogotá Surgery after interviewing several of the surgeons performing this surgical technique in Bogotá, Colombia – I wanted to bring readers more information about the technique itself.
I have added some links to published articles discussing this technique and how it can be used as treatment for different surgical conditions. (all case reports are from 2011.) This is just a limited selection – there are hundreds of articles on this technique, and it is now being for a wide variety of abdominal conditions.
Case report from Japan – treatment of giant liver cyst (with color photos and radiographic information.)
Single port laparoscopy for adnexal surgery – 22 cases: this study has a photo that demonstrates the sterile glove technique that I’ve mentioned previously (that allows for a smaller peri-umbilical incision than when using a commercial instrument holder.)
an Indian study discussing this technique for kidney donors (for organ harvesting) – has a nice post-operative photo of kidney donor.
Note: while this Turkish study is descriptive and colorful - it’s not true single incision laparoscopic surgery – as observed in Bogotá, Colombia and other facilities. (It’s only single incision surgery if there’s just one incision..)
In this story at Forbes.com - commentator Avik Roy discusses Rick Perry’s position supporting medical tourism, free-market health care, and health insurance to cover patients internationally. Mr. Roy also discusses how these ideas would benefit the average American.
While I stay out of politics myself – and many people consider Rick Perry and several of the other potential candidates to be far from center – the Governor of Texas seems to have a good grip on the issues facing many of his constituents such as ballooning unemployment and a lack of health care access and affordable health options.
Recent Articles about Medical Tourism
This page will be frequently updated and contains stories from a variety of sources. It’s a mix between media articles, patient and industry blogs and ‘scientific’ and medical journals.
Note: ‘Medical’ articles are often heavily weighted against medical tourism (but consider the source – as the majority are written by UK and USA physicians.) However, many of these articles bring up important points to consider prior to considering medical travel, such as quality control , patient safety and objective measurements (and other issues that we have discussed here before).
For more on patient safety issues – see my sister site, Cartagena Surgery.
I have also omitted patient perspective/ ‘testimonial’ type stories for the most part – as we’ve discussed here and on Cartagena Surgery – first-person narratives are not helpful in that patients themselves often do not have all of the necessary components to provide recommendations.
Medical Tourism: the element of cost - Healthnews.com
Crime, drug wars threatens Mexico’s medical tourism - opinion article
A portable medical health record – for medical tourists and other travelers. A paper talking about a new free application to assist travelers in maintaining portable health records, and how this may change the face of health care, and consumer expectations/ safety.
An excellent overview of the issues involved in medical tourism - including quality of care, cultural issues and informed consent. (this is a British article and focuses primarily on medical tourism to Thailand, India). However, all of the issues raised in this article are addressed in the Bogotá book.
A review of the literature surrounding ‘the patient experience’ of medical tourism’
A nice article talking about the availability and quality of medical tourism information available on the internet (something we’ve talked about many, many times.) Of course the name of the article, “Nip, Tuck and Click” does give a hint of the writers bias against medical tourism.
A new article at the Minnesota Star-Tribune highlights the reasons for heading to Colombia and other parts of Latin America for vacation. Medical Tourism isn’t mentioned – it’s strictly a vacation article but it’s nice to see Colombia get a bit of the spotlight it deserves!
I’ve been adding a few links with information about Colombia here at Bogota Surgery – just take a look around.
Just a reminder – your chance to win a free autographed copy of (the newly revised) Bogotá! a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism ends September 18th. You can still enter here!
If you aren’t familiar with Goodreads – it’s an on-line ‘Book Club’ that allows people to share their reviews of their favorite (and not so favorite books.) It also allows readers to catch up with and connect with their favorite authors..
One of the trends I’ve seen in the last few months is a growing assortment of medical propaganda that can only be termed ‘medical tourism backlash’. Frighteningly, these writers are often willfully misinformed and published on websites that give the appearance of legitimacy. I’ve included an example here - published on a website called News Junky Journal. The junky part is certainly accurate.
This article is a thinly disguised ad for a US based plastic surgeon – Dr. Delgado and persists in spreading misinformation, untruths and some blatant lies. The author, Charles Hale makes no effort to distinguish between medical tourism destinations, much less the facilities and surgeons themselves but uses a blanket brush to depict all non-US surgeons as poorly trained uncredentialled hacks operating without consideration for patient outcomes due to a lack of fear for repercussions. He presents his ‘facts’ as absolutes – and as all educated consumers know – there are no absolutes. Yes, there are bad surgeons (everywhere – and quite a few unlicensed frauds in the USA as well, as we’ve documented over at Cartagena Surgery as part of a series explaining how to evaluate medical and surgical providers.)
But there are also well-educated, kind, caring EXCELLENT surgeons like the ones we’ve identified during this project. Fear-mongering is not the way to drum up patients or protect people from adverse outcomes. Objective, and honest research is.
There are several other blatant inaccuracies in the above mentioned article – including statements that insurance companies NEVER pay for medical tourism – as we’ve discussed here, and in the book – several American health care companies such as Blue Cross actually have medical tourism divisions to help patients find providers overseas. This medical tourism company helps people use their Health Savings Accounts for medical travel.
He also ignores ‘complication insurance’ as offered by many of the providers interviewed in Bogotá – which explicitly covers the treatment of any surgical complications whether at the destination or after patients return home.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I do think that the medical tourism industry should be regulated – ‘tour operators’ shouldn’t sell the services of people they’ve never met, but to disregard medical tourism as simply a plaything of indulgent people wanting to have surgery while frolicking on the beach, as implied in his last paragraph is ignorant and insulting to the very people who rely on medical tourism as their only option outside of complete financial devastation.
Sadly, I think scare articles like this are only the beginning; as American surgeons (particularly plastic surgeons who rely on elective procedures for their income) continue to feel the effects of a poor economy. But slandering an entire industry and hundreds of thousands of hard-working medical professionals, and terrorizing patients is not the answer.
to my dear readers and loyal supporters. On reviewing the most recent batch of books, I noticed several heinous spelling errors! I find this horribly disturbing – as I mentioned previously – I had several edits, with different proof-readers including a PhD in English.
Perhaps it’s a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, but in any case – I am absolutely horrified – and am re-reviewing the entire manuscript for re-submission. Abject apologies..