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Guidelines for Medical Tourist

 In 2008 more than 200,000 Americans traveled abroad for healthcare, and that number is expected to be tripled by 2012.Some of the common procedures for which International travelers seek treatment overseas include dental work, heart surgery, orthopedics which include bone and joints surgery like Hip Replacement, Hip Resurfacing, Knee Replacement, etc, cosmetic surgery, neurosurgery, fertility treatments, LASIK eye repair and cancer treatments.

Medical tourism has not become very commonplace today. With personal choice, however, comes responsibility. Here's what every prospective medical Traveler patient should know before going overseas for treatment.

Find out from a qualified medical professional if you are fit enough to travel overseas and can fly long distance flights.

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  • Make sure the hospital you wish to go is licensed and preferably accredited by an either Joint Commission International or at least recognized by any international healthcare auditing agency or a commission. Cost and Quality of Patient care should be kept in mind before finalizing the hospital for your treatment.
  • Get details on the doctor, including their professional achievements, qualification and credentials before you select them. Cross check with existing patients or do some search on the internet for the Hospital you are looking to go, to know more about them
  • Educate yourself on the procedure and compare your expectations with what's achievable by the surgery. Also be clear about follow-up care needed, time required for recovery, physical therapy etc.
  • The decisions on treating a patient can be made only after you meet with your doctor. Most Hospitals do not guarantee any kind of medical treatments, without a personal examination which may include diagnostic tests, unless it’s a very clear case or a procedure that is very commonplace without a personal examination which may include diagnostic tests.
  • In some cases your doctor, upon examining you, may decide you are not fit for surgery, or recommends treatment different from what you planned.
  • You must ensure that you always carry the necessary documents with you, in person. It is recommended that you carry copies of these documents, while storing the originals in a safe place.
  • Records like X-Rays, MRI's, health histories, photographs, immunization records, prescriptions and any other health records relevant to the surgery. Remember to carry all these medical reports and any medicines in your carry-on luggage.
  • Passport and visa: You will need a passport for yourself and your travel companion (if any). Depending upon the country you are travelling from, you may or may not need a visa.
  • Credit cards, debit cards and travellers checks: Bring some local currency, travellers checks and one or two major credit cards and debit cards.
  • Carry your driver's license and make sure it will remain valid while you're travelling.

Precautions to avoid DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

  • If you are travelling abroad for medical reasons for the first time, there are certain pointers to overcome Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
  • Take short walks down the aisle on the plane.
  • Exercise the muscles of your lower legs, which act as a pump for the blood in the veins.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Avoid alcohol & other caffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid sleeping pills

Wear graduated compression stockings if you have other risk factors for DVT if you have a history of DVT you may need heparin injections. Seek urgent medical advice if you develop swelling or pain in your calf/thigh or encounter breathing problems.

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