Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism

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IT’S CALLED MEDICAL TOURISM… TAKING TRIPS TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A MEDICAL IT’S CALLED MEDICAL TOURISM. TAKING TRIPS TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A MEDICAL PROCEDURE. SOME FOLKS ON A TIGHT BUDGET ARE FINDING IT VERY COST EFFECTIVE. BUT WHAT OTHER COSTS OR DANGERS ARE THERE? OUR DIANE LEE LOOKS INTO THE RISKS INVOLVED IN THIS EXCLUSIVE. HERE IN AMERICA, EVEN IF YOU HAVE GOOD INSURANCE, IT OFTEN DOESN’T COVER ELECTIVE PROCEDURES LIKE WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY. TONIGHT WE COMPARED TWO PEOPLE WHO HAD GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY, ONE IN ANDERSON, THE OTHER IN MEXICO. AND AMERICAN DOCTOR WEIGH IN ON WHAT PATIENTS NEED TO KNOW BEFORE CROSSING THE BORDER. SOMETIMES THE WEIGHT OF PAST TRAUMA IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SHED. I’VE EVEN TRIED COMMITTING SUICIDE. THAT’S HOW BAD MY DEPRESSION GOT. MY PARENTS DIED RELATIVELY YOUNG. MY MOM WAS 40, MY DAD WAS 42, MY BROTHER WAS 30 WHEN HE PASSED AWAY. SO OBESITY RAN IN THE FAMILY. FOOD HAD BEEN A LONG-TIME COMFORT FROM THE PAIN OF CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES. HE USED TO TAPE UP THE MIRROR SO I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SEE MYSELF. I STRUGGLED FOR YEARS TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR AT MYSELF. THIS WAS MY WEDDING BAND. IT DOESN’T FIT ANYMORE, OBVIOUSLY. AFTER YEARS OF UNSUCCESSFUL DIETING AND FAILING HEALTH, BOTH SMITH AND CATHY DECIDED WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY COULD BE A LIFESAVER. I WENT TO THE DOCTORS AND I HAD BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES. AND I’M LIKE, YOU KNOW WHAT, I HAVE GOT TO DO SOMETHING BECAUSE IF I DON’T TAKE CONTROL OF THIS NOW, I COULD LOSE A FOOT OR A LEG OR MY LIFE AND I JUST COULDN’T LEAVE MY SON AND MY WIFE JUST THERE WITH NOBODY. SMITH, WHO GOT HIS PROCEDURE IN AUGUST OF 2018, HAS INSURANCE THAT COVERED $14,000 OF THE TOTAL BILL. CATHY’S INSURANCE DID NOT COVER ANY OF THE $20,000 TAB. SO LAST MONTH AFTER TALKING WITH HER DOCTOR, SHE WENT TO MEXICO. HE LOOKED AT ME LIKE, WHOA, HOLD ON, HOLD ON, WHY ARE YOU CHOOSING MEXICO? I FINALLY EXPLAINED IT TO HIM AND HE WAS LIKE, OKAY, LET’S DO THIS TEST AND DO THIS TEST BEFORE YOU GO. MY RESULTS, I CAME BACK FINE AND HE WAS LIKE, OKAY, COME BACK AND SEE ME AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME. BOTH PATIENTS UNDERWENT THE SAME PROCEDURE CALLED GASTRIC SLEEVE WHICH REMOVES NEARLY THREE QUARTERS OF THE STOMACH. SMITH SPENT $6,000 OUT OF POCKET SINCE HIS INSURANCE COVERED THE LESS. CATHY SPENT LESS INCLUDING THE AIR AND HOTEL. HE HAS NOT PERSONALLY SEEN OR READ ABOUT AMERICANS SUFFERING MAJOR COMPLICATIONS FROM GETTING THE PROCEDURE DONE IN MEXICO, BUT ADDS RIGHT NOW THE AMERICAN SOCIETY ADVISES AGAINST IT. IT’S HARD TO KNOW ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE FACILITY AND THE SURGEON. IT’S HARD TO KNOW IF YOU’LL GET A STANDARD PROCEDURE VERSUS SOME KIND OF MODIFIED PROCEDURE. AND IT’S HARD TO KNOW IF THE SURGEON WILL GIVE YOU WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU OR WHAT’S MAYBE EXPLOITING YOU OR BEST FOR THEM. IN THE LEAST, PATIENTS SHOULD MAKE SURE THEY GET COPIES OF THE OPERATIVE RECORD WHICH EXPLAINS EXACTLY WHAT THE SURGEON DID, AS WELL AS ANY X-RAYS, STUDIES, OR CAT SCANS DONE POST SURGERIES. THAT WAY AMERICAN DOCTORS CAN FOLLOW UP IF NEED BE. DO THE RESEARCH ON THE DOCTOR BEFORE MAKING THE COMPLETE DECISION ITSELF. SHE SAYS ONE HOSPITAL IN MEXICO REQUIRED CASH, WHICH WOULD HAVE MADE FOR DANGEROUS TRAVEL. CATHY OPTED FOR A GO-BETWEEN CALLED FACILITATORS. THEY RECOMMEND POTENTIALS — POTENTIAL PATIENTS CONTACT FORMER PATIENTS FOR REVIEWS. THERE ARE COMPANIES OFFERING PRICES VERY, VERY LOW. p>>WHEREVER THE SURGERY OCCURS, PATIENTS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE TEN-YEAR SUCCESS RATE, WHICH IS DEFINED AS LOSING 50% OF THE EXCESS BODY WEIGHT. SO THIS IS A PICTURE OF ME SUMMER 2018. I DON’T EVEN RECOGNIZE YOU. SMITH DROPPED 150 POUNDS IN ONE YEAR AND IS RUNNING TRIATHLON. I LOOK AT MYSELF NOW AND HOW I FEEL AND HOW OTHER PEOPLE PERCEIVE ME AND I JUST SAY NEVER AGAIN. CATHY, WHO JUST BEGAN HER JOURNEY, IS ALREADY SEEING LIFE-CHANGING RESULTS. AFTER TWO WEEKS, I DROPPED 20 POUNDS. AND I’M NO LONGER DIABETIC. I NO LONGER HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. SHE’S HOPEFUL SOME DAY HER STORY WILL FALL IN LINE WITH THE SUCCESS SMITH IS SEEING AND IS GRATEFUL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL OPTION THAT OPENED HER WORLD TO A PROCEDURE THAT WAS ONCE OUT OF REACH. CATHY HAS SAID SHE HAS HAD NO COMPLICATIONS FROM THE SURGERY AND FEELS BETTER THAN EVER. SMITH SAYS WHEN HE MAXED OUT HIS DEDUCTIBLE, HIS WIFE ALSO GOT HERS THE SAME YEAR AT NO COST. IN THE STUDIO, DIANE LEE, 7 NEWS. AND WE HAVE A LINK TO MORE ON WSPA.COM. STILL AHEAD ON 7 NEWS, AN

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