Dr. Ivan Santos

Just another reason for Latinamericansurgery.com

Dr. Ivan Santos

Colombian plastic surgeons operating

because you need someone who is objective (and informed) that is looking out for you, the patient..

In this article, at International Journal of Medical Travel, Kevin Pollard talks about the need for regulation of medical tourism in cosmetic surgery.  I wholeheartedly agree – in fact, Mr. Pollard and I conversed about this very topic in a series of emails last week.

After all – it is why I do what I do, and publish it here for my readers.  The industry does need to be regulated – medical tourism companies shouldn’t pick providers by “lowest bidder” and patients need to be protected (from unsanitary conditions, bad surgeons, and poor care).  But what form will this regulation take?

Will it be Joint Commission certification – which covers facilities and not the physicians (and their surgical practices themselves)?

Will it require facilities to pay a lot of money for a shiny badge?

Or will it be someone like me, low-key and independent, going into facilities at the behest of patients; interviewing surgeons and actually observing the process and talking to patients?

and who pays for this?  The beauty of what I do – is that I am independently (read: self) funded.  True, it hurts my wallet but I have no divided loyalties or outside interests in doing anything but reporting the unvarnished truth.

and ultimately – will this be done in a fair, open and honest way?  Or it is really a witch hunt led by disgruntled American and British plastic surgeons?  Will they bother to discriminate between excellent surgeons and incompetent ones who will it be by geography alone?

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

New medical tourism report

There’s a new medical tourism report written by an economist which takes issue with many of the ‘reported facts and figures’ which are bandied about by the medical tourism industry.  As we’ve discussed on previous posts – many of these numbers are fairly nebulous and impossible to verify.  (Afterall, there is no exit surveyor at airports to ask, “During your stay in Mexico, did you undergo any surgical procedures?”)

The report sounds interesting – but at a cost of 800 pounds – it’s out of reach for people like myself.  By the same token, I’d like to know by what methods Ian Youngman was able to quantify his results – since the problems of obtaining accurate numbers is fairly universal.

However, it’s an interesting glimpse into an industry that promotes a lot, but often proves little.

Update :

Another new report – this one by TreatmentAbroad which states that in a survey of their customers – 9 out of ten would do it again.  The press release describes their survey methodology and the company offers readers more information, and invites questions about the project.

Bogota Surgery and the International Medical Travel Journal

Thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who notified me that portions of one of my articles “Bogotá hospital offers hope to abdominal cancer patients” (originally published on Colombia Reports.com) was featured in the article, “Agencies promote Central and Southern American medical tourism.”

I’ve asked them to provide a link to the original article so readers can get more information on the topic.

Update: 29 June 2011: Here’s a link to the new article on Treatment Abroad (which is an International Medical Travel Journal sister site) that gives their readers the information they really need. (The name of the doctor, of course!)  It’s a summary of the original Colombia Reports.com article. They still haven’t cited the ‘borrowed’ content on the original article, or provided the name of the physician doing the treatment (Dr. Fernando Arias) but I guess it’s an improvement.