The Definition of Medical Tourism

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The travel of a person from the United States to another area of the world for a medical procedure that is less costly or may provide better benefits than found in the American states is medical tourism. The act itself is not illegal, but the travel and healthcare obtained could lead to complications and several issues outside and inside the country.

Traveling around the world for medical treatment outside of the United States and then returning for recovery or post-operative help is common in those that complete medical tourism. If the complications of botched surgery or inferior equipment leads to injury, these individuals may need to seek similar or additional surgical procedures in their home country. While it is not illegal to seek care away from the home nation, the increase in complications with these processes attracts attention to those in power. When lawmakers and policy creators are aware of the severe negative consequences of medical tourism, it is only a matter of time before they ban the act.

The Reasons for Medical Tourism

Those the primary reason for seeking healthcare outside the home country is price, the individual may seek an expert with far more experience than someone in the United States. These trained physicians may have more knowledge in the procedure where in the American medical community the treatment is either not possible or inadvisable for some reason or another. If the patient is dying, he or she may seek a medical method that is questionable in his or her home nation. Some countries around the world have looser morals and ethics in performing surgery or other treatment based on the condition the person has.

Shopping around often ends in difficulty when less than the full details of the doctor or country are available. When the person or family travels to the other country to acquire the medical procedure and treatment, it is important to have all necessary details. However, many that research where to go may book travel and have the procedure performed without knowing everything. This could include any local country laws that are broken during the treatment, any complications that may arise during the procedure and any aftercare that could become costly after the person returns home. If the surgery or other care is not standard or up to the same guidelines as in the United States, any botched surgical processes may end in further injury.

Medical Tourism Claims Complications

When seeking care outside of the United States, these American citizens may have no knowledge of what laws exist in these countries. If the person seeks litigation against the doctor for any injuries sustained or a botched procedure, he or she may find no legal outlet available. The possibility of compensation or even punitive damages depends heavily on which country and what legal system exists. If the legal structure is dissimilar to the United States, it is possible for no legal recourse to become available. If a lawyer is able to bring the case to the states, the courts may have little power to enforce any decision made.

Increases of Medical Tourism

As the Administration changes the possible help in the healthcare throughout the United States, the need to seek expensive and difficult medical treatment in another country increases. Those that do not have the funds for tens of thousands for a single procedure may spend thousands to travel and less than half for the surgery or other process. The aftercare may not require as much maintenance or funding. While there are several locations where such procedure cost more, the possible areas in the world increase the availability of where to travel to for the medical help.

The standard of care may exist in the same quality as found in the United States. However, costs are usually significantly less. Greater availability of various procedures is more open in certain locations around the globe. Depending on what is necessary to accomplish, the person may need to locate multiple locations for possible surgery. This becomes important when the costs are different and the quality of services is vastly dissimilar.

The Need for a Lawyer in Medical Tourism

While hiring a lawyer becomes necessary once injury occurs, the person may need to hire one when he or she is unable to return to the United States. Other legal complications could arise when outside of the native country as well. This could include legal violations in the other location or customs offenses that keep the person in the other nation.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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