Medical tourism is the practice of moving a patient from his country of residence to another country in pursuit of affordable medical treatment. India is among the major medical tourist destinations of the world because medical treatments and procedures here are cheaper than in the US and other European countries. In fact, India is a pioneer in this field, because medical centers have already existed in the country even long before patients started seeking treatments abroad.
Traveling to India for medical treatment offers various benefits, including affordable costs, high quality care, and a chance to time your vacation with recuperation. But there are also some risks involved in going to India as a medical tourist. You might get exposed to NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1). This is an antibiotic resistant bacteria which even the strongest antibiotic cannot treat. What makes it ironic is the fact that India manufactures 30% of the world’s supply of antibiotics. And what’s more, these super bugs have already found their way out of the health facilities of India and has reached 35 different countries. If you want to know how, it is through poor sanitation practices and medical tourism.
The legal issue that you may face when you travel to India as a medical tourist is up to what extent you can be covered by your insurance. In case of malpractice suits you might find it hard to claim for damages, because insurance laws vary by country. Even though hospitals and dental clinics in India carry insurance for medical malpractice, the settlement that you ask for misdiagnosis, negligence or incompetence may not be the amount that you expect because what you understand is the insurance laws in your own country. So make sure that you get all the facts before traveling to India.
In the recent past people traveled as medical tourists only to undergo cosmetic surgery, which is an elective medical procedure. Since elective procedures are generally not covered by insurance, so therefore, insurance was not a big factor to be considered by medical tourists. However, India and a few other countries started to offer medical procedures many of which are life-saving (such as transplants). For this reason, having a clear insurance policy is essential if you will travel to India and seek professional medical treatment.
Of all the Asian countries, India is one of those countries where practices such as “womb for rent” or “eggs and sperms for sale” are generally accepted. There have been attempts to regulate these practices, though.
If you have gone to India to undergo a medical procedure, remember that the quality of post-operative care that you will receive will depend on the hospital. Definitely it will not be the same as that provided by the US and European hospitals and clinics. If you are not satisfied with how you are treated, some hospitals may not deal with your complaint appropriately because of lack of complaints policy.