Medical tourism refers to the trend of going to another country to receive medical treatments. Many treatments and cosmetic procedures are available at a much lower cost than in the USA. However, this is a risky practice that can carry heavy consequences, including death.

Be safe! If you’re considering medical tourism, be fully aware of these dangers and take action to do what you can to minimize them:

1. Infection. One of the biggest risks of medical tourism is infections. Other parts of the world have different standards for sanitation, and medical facilities can be unsanitary.

* Infections can occur for a variety of reasons, including unsanitary practices and facilities. The equipment used during surgery may not be sterile.

* Bacterial and viral infections are a major risk. In addition, you may end up with a serious disease such as HIV from dirty needles and surgical equipment. These infections can be permanent issues and may cost you your life.

* Inspect the facilities ahead of time.

2. Medication dangers. You may require medications before, during, or after your treatment in another country.

* The medications you receive may be low quality or have incorrect ingredients.

* It’s common to find counterfeit medications during medical tourism journeys. These medications can hurt you.

* Research your doctor and the pharmacy that will be providing your medications.

3. Communication issues. If you don’t know the language of the other country, the risks are higher. You may not be able to communicate your health issues or ask for help if something goes wrong.

* Communication can be a serious issue in a foreign land. How will you be able to tell others about your needs and get the care you require?

* Misunderstandings can lead to serious complications after treatments.

4. Blood supply issues. You may require blood during or after your treatment, so it’s crucial that it’s safe. Does the foreign medical facility have high standards for blood donations?

* Standards for donations can vary greatly and put you at risk of getting a serious infection. You won’t be able to see the issue until it’s too late.

5. Travel concerns. Taking an airplane flight increases your risk of blood clots. Plus, the combination of surgery and airplane flights can make the risk even higher.

* Traveling can increase your risk of infection and complications after surgery.

6. Follow-up care. Foreign medical facilities have different rules for follow-up care.

* Will you receive adequate follow-up care in the foreign facility? It’s important to understand that your hospital or clinic stay may be cut short, and you might not get the follow-up care you need.

* What will you do if you have a serious infection or complication and can’t get the medical facility to treat you?

7. Legal issues. If there are issues with your surgery or treatment, what are your legal recourses?

* Foreign medical facilities may make it difficult for you to pursue a case. You may not have legal rights and may not be able to receive compensation for a mishandled surgery.

8. Credential issues. Foreign medical facilities may have different credential standards.

* Will you receive treatment from a licensed professional, or a person who isn’t capable of handling a procedure or surgery? How will you check the credentials and licenses in a foreign land with possible language barriers?

9. Hidden costs. Medical tourism may seem like a less expensive alternative, but it has hidden costs.

* Will you be able to afford all of the treatments and medications in a foreign medical facility? What if you require an extra-long hospital stay or extra care? It’s important to consider these additional costs.

Medical tourism can be a dangerous way to seek surgeries and other treatments. Understand the risks before you travel to get medical care.