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Medical Travel Advisory

Medical Travel AdvisoryFrom time to time, when reliable sources in the media and health care industry report on events that present unreasonable and unwarranted harm to medical travelers and health tourists, Medical Travel Quality Alliance issues warnings to medical tourists.

MTQUA changes the advisory when a situation improves. 

MTQUA calls on the governments and medical establishments of named countries to review not only specific incidents but also the underlying reasons for these warnings in order to make medical and wellness travel safer and better for all medical tourists. Download the full report.

Medical Travel Warning: Dominican Republic

MTQUA warns travelers against having any kind of medical, surgical or dental treatment in the Dominican Republic.

Medical Travel AdvisoryThe Dominican Republic has an excessively large number of medical tourist deaths. This is a dangerous situation for medical travelers.

In the first six months of 2015, four medical tourists have died after having surgery in Dominican Republic clinics. In 2014, a New York resident died during surgery at a clinic in the country. Earlier reports list the deaths of three medical tourists as a result of surgery in 1998 and one in 2004 in the Dominican Republic.

On the internet, many harmed patients describe their poor outcomes and the dangerous situations they experienced in Dominican Republic clinics.

Authorities have taken some but not enough action. The government has now shut down one clinic, that of Dr. Edgar Contreras who has been the subject of three other probes by Dominican investigators over the years.

MTQUA has been observing events in the Dominican Republic for more than a year, after American and European health authorities issued reports of serious harm to medical tourists.  Download the full report.

Medical Travel Watch: India

MTQUA advises medical tourists to be extremely cautious in seeking treatment in India through medical tourism facilitators or agents.

Medical Travel AdvisoryIndia’s tourism minister has called the medical tourism industry in India “unorganized.” Industry experts tend to agree and some even describe it as chaotic.

As the medical tourism industry grows and matures in India, its weaknesses and problems are becoming clearer. At recent government-sponsored meetings in New Delhi, government and hospital officials identified lack of trust, poor quality and limited expertise in care management of medical tourists as major problems.

India’s status as a preferred medical destination is increasingly threatened as more medical tourists arrive in the country and experience the lack of organized care and services both inside most hospitals and outside during the pre-surgery and aftercare periods. Governments in the Middle East and Central Asia that send sponsored medical travelers to India are finding that their medical outcomes are less that optimal.  Download the full report.

Medical Travel Watch: Mexico

MTQUA cautions medical tourists when seeking treatment in Mexican “border” towns.

Medical Travel AdvisoryThe number of deaths and near deaths of medical tourists receiving medical treatment in Mexico needs to ring alarm bells throughout the medical tourism industry.

American media have reported on the deaths of several American medical tourists at one particular clinic, that of Dr. Mario Almanza in Tijuana, a border town 125 miles south of Los Angeles. Complications and infections from surgery are widespread, and have been reported widely in American media. Scripps Media reporters across the US have reported deaths and complications in medical travelers having weight loss surgery at the clinic.  Download the full report.

Medical Travel Watch: South Korea

MTQUA alerts medical tourists to seek treatment only in known top hospitals in South Korea where staff speak your language.

Medical Travel AdvisorySouth Korea’s government has announced a crackdown on illegal clinics and agents after a Chinese woman fell into a coma in January 2015 and was pronounced brain dead on the operating table while undergoing extensive plastic surgery in a Seoul clinic.

Other reports detail poor treatment, poor conditions, ghost doctors, price gouging, counterfeit drugs and injectables, and false advertising and other problems.

An online support group in China comprising hundreds of victims of alleged botched cosmetic procedures in South Korea has begun a campaign to highlight the problems, including disputes over malpractice.  Download the full report.

Medical Travel Watch: Thailand

MTQUA urges medical tourists to be very careful when seeking a medical or surgical procedure in any clinic in Thailand.

Medical Travel AdvisoryA recent headline in The Nation, a leading English-language Bangkok newspaper read, Another Plastic Surgery Patient Dies.

The death of 24-year-old British woman Joy Williams in October 2014 caused barely a ripple in Bangkok. She died on the operating table during a second surgery to correct problems in her first surgery at the same clinic. Reportedly, the doctor was trying to perform the surgery and administer general anesthesia at the same time.  Download the full report.

Dominican Republic Dangerous For Medical Tourists, Risks Too High In India, Mexico, Thailand, South Korea: New MTQUA Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dominican Republic is dangerous for medical tourists, risks too high in four other countries: new report from Medical Travel Quality Alliance.

December 21, 2015 – Bangkok and Scottsdale – A new medical tourism report out today from Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) warns travelers not to have medical procedures done in Dominican Republic, and puts four countries on a watch list.

The Medical Travel Advisory, the first ever issued by the medical tourism industry, identifies an excessive number of deaths and life-threatening infections of medical tourists in Dominican Republic, and cautions medical tourists about specific safety risks in Thailand, Mexico, India and South Korea.

Download PDF release

“We urge medical travelers to seek an alternative to the Dominican Republic,” says Julie Munro, president of MTQUA. “At least four people this year alone have died after surgery that we know of. Dozens more acquired life-threatening infections they had to treat in hospital back home. This is unacceptable.”

Dominican Republic dangerAs many medical tourists start planning in January for medical travel later in the year, MTQUA cautions them to take great care when considering medical or surgical procedures in Thailand, South Korea, India and especially in Mexico, where deaths from weight loss and plastic surgery in certain clinics in the border towns of Tijuana and Mexicali have been widely reported in the American media.

Conditions in these countries present unreasonable and unwarranted risk, and possible life-altering harm including poor quality results, disregard for medical traveler safety, and even death, according to MTQUA.

“We are naming the Dominican Republic because this situation has been going on for years. It is widespread and not confined to one or two clinics. Neither the government nor the medical establishment has shown a clear commitment to fix this. Instead, the country continues to promote itself as a preferred medical tourism destination which is absolutely not the case,” says Munro.

For now, Dominican Republic authorities have shut down one clinic but not other clinics that have been identified as the source of life-altering surgical-site infections in medical travelers in reports from as far back as 2003.

MTQUA calls on the governments and the medical profession of these countries to review specific incidents and the underlying reasons why medical tourists are finding themselves at such high risk so that medical and wellness travel becomes safer and better for all medical tourists.

Medical tourists can keep risks low by using the services of a professional care manager or patient representative at the destination and one who charges a fee for services. Avoid commission agents paid for bringing patients to a hospital or clinic. Hospitals are generally safer than clinics as even registered clinics often don’t follow the same cleanliness and sterile procedures, have unlicensed staff, and are not close to emergency facilities.

Download the full Medical Travel Advisory report as a PDF.

Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA), founded in 2009, is an independent international organization that develops and promotes the highest standards of excellence in delivering treatment and care to medical travelers and health tourists. It certifies hospitals, clinics and medical travel service providers worldwide for safety and quality in support of treatment, care and services for medical tourists, and issues an annual list of the Top 10 World’s Best Hospitals for Medical TouristsTM.

Contact:
Caroline Bodanis
Email caroline@mtqua.org.
Telephone (USA) +1 602-635-4664
(Thailand) +66 85 902 4500
www.mtqua.org