08 April 2013

Packed suitcaseA new report in an influential Asian newspaper has warned of the dangers of the widespread phenomenon of 'medical tourism', especially when it involves patients undergoing various cosmetic procedures. The South China Morning Post cited a couple of instances where patients returned from other countries with horror stories after their procedures had either gone wrong, or had not been administered properly. One woman, known only as Monica, described how, after travelling to India to have her operation to remove excess stomach tissue removed, woke before the wound from the operation had been fully closed."They woke me up early while the doctor was still closing the wound," she said. But her experience is being used as a wider warning to people tempted to seek treatments abroad, often because of the promise of saving large amounts of money. And this has led Dr Anthony Lee Kai-yiu, of Hong Kong's Union Hospital, to warn of the dangers of seeking cosmetic treatments overseas. "A local patient can complain to the Medical Council here if doctors make a mistake," he explained. "But if something goes wrong overseas, the patient can feel helpless. Seeking reparations can be complicated due to differences in legal and medical systems."