Medical Tourists Bill of Rights

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03/19/2012 | By: Guest Contributor

Millions of medical tourists are crossing international borders to receive quality, affordable health care, from simple dental veneers in Hungary to serious surgeries, like liver transplant in Istanbul.

If you are anything like medical tourists today: you contact your doctor, pack your bags and hop on a flight to your intended destination to receive your treatment.

International patients may not be aware of the challenges lying ahead when traveling for a medical treatment abroad. As a medical tourist, you should be educated on your rights and responsibilities.

Doing your initial research on how to be a modern-day medical tourist is one thing; learning about your bill of rights is another.

The recent incidents of medical malfunction in several international health care destinations spurred medical associations to introduce a regulatory framework to guide medical travelers and support safe and successful medical conduct.

Your rights may outweigh your responsibilities-- however in order to receive the best quality treatment, you must collaborate with your medical providers during all phases of your treatment for the sake of your good health.

The three cornerstones of an efficient medical tourism experience are: honest communication, respect for patient’s privacy and personal values and empathetic understanding of cultural difference.

Medical Tourist’s Rights:
1- Receive clear and comprehensible information regarding your rights, medical treatment, follow-up medical care and after care treatment upon returning to your home country.

2- You are entitled to be informed of identity, professional degree, credentials and position occupied by the medical staff providing your treatment. Your inquiry may also include further investigation of your physician’s education, medical license, board certification, years of practice, previous experience and results of related procedures.

3- To be furnished with a detailed statement comprising all the costs involved in your treatment and care, in addition a cost breakdown of the hospital charges, surgeon’s fees and other administrative charges that might be included in the treatment cost. You have the right to accept or reject price quotes and treatment plans that you find far-fetched.

4- To receive comprehensible information about your health status, procedures included the treatment, length of the procedure, benefits and risks, recovery time, medical alternatives and treatment results.

5- You have the right to request interpretation into your own native language to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

6- To receive alternate names of prescribed medications available in your country of residence and their potential side-effects.

7- Privacy is paramount for patients seeking treatments of sensitive nature, such as IVF, surrogacy or weight loss.

Nonetheless you have every right to demand respect and privacy for any treatment you are undergoing, regardless of its nature.

Clinical history and all information pertaining to your illness must be kept confidential, unless stated by a special law; otherwise medical authorities must be notified.

8- International patients are usually accompanied by a family member, friend or a close relative during the course of treatment abroad.

You have the right to request the person accompanying you to be present during examination, medical tests and consultation meetings with your doctor.

You can also designate visitors to informed of your health care and be updated with your progress on your behalf.

9- To receive dignified treatment with respect, consideration, empathy, understanding and courtesy, regardless of citizenship, language, race, color, religion, values or beliefs or sexual orientation.

10- In case of any dissatisfaction on your side, you have the right to be informed of trusted board of patient representatives for resolving disputes and conflicts.

Medical Tourist’s Responsibilities:
1- To thoroughly understand information about your treatment, procedures involved and expected results. Make sure you prepare a list of questions and jot down doctor’s answers and comments.

2- If you are undergoing self-medicating, you have to consult with your doctor and disclose the names of your medications, in order to avoid disruption with your ongoing treatment.

3- If you experience any changes in your condition, new symptoms or unusual pain arise, you have to inform your doctor immediately. You must update your doctor, nurses or medical care manager with your current condition on a regular basis to ensure you continually receive the best quality treatment.

4- To take all measures against spreading infection. During your stay in the medical facility, you must follow a stringent sanitization routine by frequently washing your hands.

5- To be punctual in all your meetings and appointments with your doctor any medical personnel providing the treatment. If, for any reason, you are able to show up, notify one of the medical provider’s patient coordinators or medical representatives.

6- Be honest, candid and precise when providing your personal information.

7- To always seek reliable sources of information and remain vigilant of the rampant internet scams and chat rooms that may distort or mislead you in any way possible.

8- If you wish to suspend your treatment with the medical provider for any given reason; you must not hold your doctor or medical agent responsible for any outcome of your choice.

Medical tourism is a thriving industry growing at a break-neck pace that is no longer reserved for the rich and famous.

To get the best of it, you must be well-educated on your rights and responsibilities before you set sail for your next medical treatment abroad, paving the way for safe and successful path to recovery.


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