What are the potential dangers of having surgery abroad?

All medical procedures carry some risk, whether they are performed in the UK or overseas. The best way to ensure you reduce the risk of any complications is to research every option thoroughly so that you can make an informed and educated decision. Whilst the qualifications of doctors abroad may be similar to that of your local GP, language barriers and regulatory standards can differ and lead to difficulties with aftercare. If anything has gone seriously wrong and you feel that it was out of your control, you could be eligible for clinical negligence.

Here we will discuss some of the potential problems that can incur from having surgery performed abroad and ways that you can try to minimise or even avoid them altogether.

Lack of research
Finding your ideal procedure or solution online for a reasonable price may be tempting at first; however, you should avoid making decisions that could permanently affect your health without properly researching the implications. Always prioritise your health and safety over money and consult with your GP as to whether they have any comments or helpful advice. You can also find out who the professional bodies and health regulators are in the country you are visiting before you go in case you were to make a complaint. Reading previous reviews about the practice and the type of procedure can also provide useful insight. Additionally, booking a consultation beforehand can give you a good idea as to whether this is the right choice for you and what the realistic expectations should be.

Issues with aftercare
How you look after your wounds ultimately affects how they heal and whether you will endure any negative outcomes in the long term. Consider what you will do during the days following your procedure and where you will go – does the practice offer a place to stay? Do you need to attend any follow-up appointments? In some cases, you cannot fly immediately and will need to wait several days before returning home. Make sure to keep a record of your medical notes for your GP or dentists in the UK should you need any further treatment or if anything were to go awry.

Problems with communication
It is important to find out whether the doctors at the practice speak English to a level where you can communicate with them clearly – if not, an interpreter could be a suitable alternative depending on how comfortable you feel doing this. If you are unable to build a relationship with the doctor, you could miss key details or end up agreeing to things that you were unaware of.

Lack of insurance
It is never a good idea to go abroad for work or pleasure without an appropriate insurance policy in place. When you are having surgery performed abroad, it is vital that you acquire a robust insurance policy that you are certain will cover anything that goes wrong as a result of organised treatment abroad.

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