Opting for a medical procedure abroad and making the right choice of the clinic or surgeon for medical surgery abroad takes time and involves asking a lot of questions.
While we predominantly choose to go abroad medical procedures due to the lower prices, that does not mean we choose lower standards. The latter can be avoided by preparing yourself thoroughly; this means in-depth research of the clinic and procedures, consultation with your doctor and lots of hours spent reading various forums and articles.
0. Become a knowledgeable patient.
In order to ask the right questions and to understand all the answers, you simply need to understand some of the medical terms and procedures. Do some research on what the latest and best procedures are for your surgery, and be sure to ask how many of them your surgeon has performed and what the success rate was. Learn a couple of basic medical terms and use them while conversing with the staff. In this way you’ll let them know that you are an informed patient and that you expect nothing less than the best medical service they have to offer.
1. Ask for the doctor’s medical licence and references, memberships, CV and articles he/she has written.
There are doctors and there are doctors. You should ‘’google’’ your doctor, look at what kind of board certifications the doctors and staff have, read some forums, while also keeping in mind that some of us are less tolerant customers than others.
2. How high can your bill go?
Ask what the final cost of the operation will be, including post-operation costs, i.e. additional special care, overnight stay, medicines, etc. In any case, you must be informed of the cost at every step of the way.
3. Where exactly the clinic is and how to get there.
Travelling by plane causes certain risks like thrombosis, so you may want to prolong your vacation for couple of days to lower those risks.
4. Check out their website and take your time too.
The size of the clinic, the healthcare accreditations, the latest techniques and medical machines, the number of doctors and staff, the quality of photos posted: all of these should at least give you the confidence to contact them.
5. Ask the clinic to send you proof of accreditation and certificates.
It will help to confirm the high quality of their equipment and services.
6. Pay attention too.
How they respond to your emails, how they communicate over the phone, whether you speak a common language and how well, and if not, whether there is a translator available.
7. Before and after.
Ask for the before and after photos of similar problems to those that you have.
8. Your treating physician is your partner.
Make sure you go through your plans with your treating doctor, as he/she may give you some useful advice and he/she will definitely be there for you when you come back home.
9. Additional questions.
What surgeries do you specialise in? How many of them do you perform per day? How many operations will my surgeon perform on the day he/she performs my operation? How long is my recovery period and will I spend it in the clinic or somewhere nearby? Who will take care of my post-operative needs back home, my treating physician? What are the risks of anaesthesia, recovery and possible complications and other risks? Which pre-surgery tests should I take just to be on the safe side?
10. Health insurance.
Be sure to put your health insurance plan in order before undergoing surgery and inform yourself what it actually covers (post-operative care, urgent transport to your country in case of emergency, painkillers).
11. And finally, trust your instincts.
If your instinct says no, then move on to the next clinic, until you find the right one.
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