It was first the sceneries that people from other places visits foreign countries. The exotic beauties of places such as Malaysia, Thailand or the Philippines are but a driving force that attracts foreigners or often regarded as tourists. Not to mention the extravagant and historically rich cultures of China, India, Japan are a full reason why Europeans, Americans, and Australians would love to take a note of and visit. But tourism, just like the information technology and human race, have evolved so much that it has now several terms and one of which is medical tourism.
There are other issues that involves the medical field like the "travelling nurse" but it is the medical tourism that has become a center of attention these days because of the discovery of the proliferation of the NDM-1 or the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase - a bacterium that is said to have mutated through a particular enzyme capable of resisting major antibiotic agents. This particular bacterium has been reported to spread across Europe, Australia, and the United States and NIAID director implicated that one of the possible causes of this spread was the medical tourism. Fauci, the Director of NIAID, claimed that there are instances that medical procedures done outside of the country may pose a risk like contacting infections which can eventually contaminate others. This assessment was viewed upon some countries that offer lower cost of surgeries like India, Pakistan, etc. But doctors in India defended with their medical scrubs on that the assessment somehow is not true.
Medical tourism is defined as the travelling of a person from his home country to another for a medical procedure specifically dental, cosmetic surgery, cardiac bypass, bone marrow transplant and many others. The term was coined by agencies and has been since accepted by the general public. The main purpose or advantage of medical tourism is the low cost medical procedure.
There are however medical and legal disadvantages medical tourism has. Studies showed that among the negative effects of medical tourism are the substandard procedures and techniques. This was after a researched posted health hazards and risks medical tourism could implicate. In one journal, it has revealed that there are many high rates of severe wound infections, HIV, and hepatitis B due to poor techniques. The British counterparts of the practitioners in medical scrubs in many destination countries said that the reason the price in Britain for a medical procedure is way higher than India or Pakistan was because of the clinical standards they strictly follow and government sanctions. Another notable changes and disturbing truths about medical tourism is the reported transplant tourists who bought kidneys and have the procedure done in the host country.
But above all, the emergence of new, stronger bacteria is enough in regulating or decreasing medical tourism in the world. It should also signal the government of host countries to review their rules and standardize their medical procedures and techniques and pattern them to the international queue. Medical tourism is not bad after all. But considering the dangerous operations and the risky contamination, it is still good that precautions should be made.
George's experience as a hospital HR has grounded him able to check on how practitioners in medical scrubs
are affected by the current tren in medical tourism.