New series of articles

I’ll be writing a new series of articles for the based on my experiences, interviews and observations here in Mexicali, MX and Calexico, California.  While the focus will be on serving the needs of the Calexico community (particularly now that there is a fast pass lane for medical travelers), I hope that all of my loyal readers will continue to support my work.

I have already published my first three articles  – and have added a new navigation section (on the side of this blog) for interested readers.

As part of this, I wrote a story about the good doctor and all of the work he is doing – including one of our recent ‘house calls’ to San Luis, in Sonora, Mexico.   It was probably one of the more difficult articles to write; due to space limitations and trying to present information in an objective fashion.  (It’s hard to present all the evidence to support your conclusions in just a few hundred words;  ie. He’s a good doctor because he does X, Y, and Z and follows H protocol according the P.”  Makes for wordy reading and not really what the Examiner is looking for.

Too bad, since readers over at haven’t had the chance to know that if the opposite is true (a less than stellar physician or treatment – that I have absolutely no reservations about presenting the evidence  and stating the facts about that either..)

Don’t worry, though – I will continue to provide that level of detail here at Cartagena Surgery – where the only limitations are my ability to type, and the (sometimes) faulty keys of my aging laptop.

Guia Cirugia

I am glad to see that many of the ideals I’ve promoted in the past – objective and unbiased medical review for medical tourists and consumers are starting to take flight.

I talked with John Coffey, in Cali, Colombia about his project , Guia Cirugia earlier this year, so I am pleased to see he was able to bring it to fruition.  (Some people would see it as competition – I see it as a necessary and needed service for consumers – so I am completely thrilled!!  I just wish there were more people interested in trying to ensure that patients (where ever they come from) receive high quality care.

JCI and the big regulatory agencies don’t count in my mind – there is just too much bureaucratic BS that gets in the way of actually getting down to the nitty-gritty;

Is the place clean?

Is the doctor licensed (at all – or in the specialty where s/he is practicing)?

Do they follow the generally accepted standards and practices for prevention of patient harm?

Do they have the technology and machinery to handle emergencies that may reasonably arise from procedures performed at that facility?  (Let me tell you – if they are operating at a Motel 6, (as we have documented before) – the answer is most assuredly NO.)

So Kudos to John and everyone else at Guia


One of my recent interviews from one of the sister sites, has been featured in the Alumni Association newsletter for the University of Guadalajara medical school.  You can see it here.

It’s an interview with a cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Orazio Amabile, who lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Not all of my writing is Colombia-related.)

In other news, I will be heading down south, to Mexico again for a few months to work on a new project.  I’ll have more details at my sister sites; cartagena surgery and cirugia de torax.

I am hoping to return to Colombia this summer for a brief writing project.  As the dates get closer and closer, I will post more information for my loyal readers.

Looks like Panama may bite off more than they can chew..

In a recently published story, the government of Panama is now offering medical  insurance for all tourists to Panama for free.  This insurance is not  ‘Complication Insurance’ which is offered by private surgeons in Colombia and other countries for patients traveling specifically for medical tourism.  Complication insurance covers all possible medical complications resulting from medical procedures at the designated clinic or destination..

No – Panama is taking the European and socialized medicine approach and is offering general medical coverage for ALL short-term travelers to Panama.  (The long-term exclusion is a wise move given the numbers of Americans and other overseas residents who make Panama their retirement home.)  This insurance resembles typical travel policies in that it covers injuries, accidents and other medical situations that may occur while on vacation..  I just hope the Panamanian government hasn’t underestimated its tourists and their injury/ illness potential.

Now readers – don’t get any wild ideas.. This is not the time to stress that ‘trick knee’ while hiking to visit the Naso-Teribes..

Meanwhile, Costa Rica is making a pitch for more corporate clients such as Pepsi-Cola.  These multi-national corporations can potentially bring hundreds of millions of healthcare dollars by diverting their employees to medical tourism destination such as Costa Rica.  (Like Colombia – Costa Rica is an ideal destination for North Americans due to proximity, quality and diversity of services available.)

The future of medical tourism: the glass ceiling

The International Medical Travel Journal has a new article that questions the notions that ‘the sky is the limit’ in the medical tourism industry.  This article discusses the belief that many investors have that as long as there is a new shiny facility, medical tourists will flock..  In reality, the market for medical tourism is fairly narrow, particularly for American medical tourists – who are the ones most likely to open their wallets and pay cold hard cash for surgical procedures overseas.  (That’s because medical care in many other countries is less expensive for residents – so why travel and pay cash for something you can get at home for relatively little expense (even if it requires waiting.) Many of these Americans are uncomfortable or unwilling to travel to more exotic locations – as Dubai has found out first hand.

Of course, plastic surgery and other elective procedures are a little different.)  But most Europeans, Canadians etc.  aren’t going to have to fork over 100,000 for heart surgery (or be uninsured) so the pool is limited.

The other class of medical tourist – the wealthy residents of countries that may not have elite services is also a mixed bag,  Many of these patients are going to elect to go to ‘big name’ American facilities despite the cost – for a specific level of care.  They may seek out specialized procedures that are unavailable or even illegal in their home countries – but that market is smaller than most of us realize.

It’s a good article that brings a dose of reality to the concept of medical tourism as a ‘cash cow’ route to easy and limitless cash.  Medical tourism is not for everyone, as investors are finding out.

New article at Eternal Beginning blog

Eternal Beginning is book review blog by avid reader (and fellow writer), Christine Cunningham.  (It is also the title of her first book.)  Christine was kind enough to feature the Bogota book on her blog.

Bogota Surgery Podcasts

As part of our continuing efforts to bring medical tourism and travel information to people in a multitude of formats, we are planning to begin a series of podcasts featuring physicians and topics discussed here at Bogotá Surgery.

Come back soon for more information on our latest endeavor.

American Presidental candidates in favor of medical tourism as part of health care solution

In this story at – 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.

Medical tourism library

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 –

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.

Bogota! a guide to medical tourism

is mentioned on another site – talking about finding reputable and safe surgeons for medical tourism. 

It’s a website (Escape from America) that helps Americans find information about living and retiring overseas.  Pretty nice to be recognized for our hard work.

Of course, the irony of it – is that my parents are ex-pats themselves and were just recently awarded permanent citizenship for their contributions to their new community.  Not this writer though, I love to travel but I love my country for all it’s faults – it is my home.  I may leave for months at a time on projects like this one – but I will always return.




Independent Authors & Writers

Excited to report that I have received “Book of the Day” on Independent Authors & You can check out their facebook site here.

I’ve also added a link to their blog, here at WordPress.

As many of my long-time readers know, it’s very difficult to get books like this published by commercial publishing houses – since it’s considered a ‘niche’ title with limited marketing potential.  Of course, I hope to prove them wrong but I am grateful to organizations like the Independent Authors for giving unknowns like myself a chance to be discovered by the reading public.

For all my Colombian readers, I am bringing copies down to Bogotá next month – they will be available at Authors Cafe – Calle 70, No. 5- 23.  (Otherwise, it’s about 30 dollars to have a copy of the book shipped from the US.)