Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A word of warning for medical tourism companies

A woman from Wales who underwent cosmetic surgery in Belgium is bringing a test case against the Belgian clinic in the UK courts.The patient is suing the clinic after undergoing a face-lift and upper and lower eye surgery in 2005. She claims that she has been left with scarring around the eyes and the ears and has experienced numbness of the face.

It is a significant case because it could set a precedent for other patients who wish to sue a clinic or medical tourism company after going abroad for treatment. Rather than sue in Belgium, the legal firm involved have decided to sue the clinic in the UK courts where they might expect higher payouts if they win the case. Laurence Vick, the solicitor who is representing the patient, is a medico-legal expert and specialises in clinical negligence claims. (Coincidentally, he and I were undergraduate students at the same college, many years ago!)

The question of who to sue in medical tourism cases is one that faces any patient where surgery abroad doesn't work out as it should. Is surgery abroad any riskier than surgery in the UK? No one knows.... because there is no comparative data. But the answer is probably not. Nevertheless, any surgery carries a risk. Cosmetic surgery is not risk free, so there are going to be cases of alleged clinical negligence where the patient will pursue a legal action. Medical tourism companies need to be aware of this test case, particularly those that have a UK presence. Rather than sue the surgeon or the hospital in the destination country, the patient may opt to sue the medical tourism company in the UK.


Call CareNet said...

It is very important to stay on top of your health and have a check up at least once a year to ensure that you remain healthy. Many health problems are curable but you need to catch them in time. Do not wait to go see a doctor because it may be too late.

Anonymous said...

Hi Keith, Your blog is very interesting. Your thoughts are welcoming - its a good change from heavy technology stuff that I read on the web.

I'm sorry - i chose to connect with you here. Perhaps if you could drop me an email at sameer[at]trellisys.net, i'd really appreciate that. I wanted to introduce our company and see if we could work with the many portals you guys have - i'm sure its must be a content jungle out there !


Anita said...

I need to take legal action against a medical travel company in Poland and was unaware that one COULD sue in this country. I'd be really grateful for any links or info on who to contact and how to go about it. I was inttending to initially contact the Brit Emb in Warsaw to see if they can point me in the right direction, but in the past haven't found embassies/consulates of great assistance! Thank you.

Keith Pollard said...


I suggest that you contact Laurence Vick at Michelmores - http://www.michelmores.com/Laurence-Vick-Profile.htm

sisena said...

Hi Keith'
Thanks for the article. This article is giving awareness to people who have undergone such problems and will help them to take some action. As you have mentioned in the other article transparency is very important.

visaharan sivasubramaniam said...

these kind of situations are increasing in number and cases in USA are building up too.
we need clarity on the legal issues, combining health law and international law.


Jonathan said...

Medical Malpractice and negligence is killing 225,000 people every year in the United States. Public awareness of medical negligence in India is growing. Hospital managements are increasingly facing complaints regarding the facilities, standards of professional competence, and the appropriateness of their therapeutic and diagnostic methods. The burden of proof of negligence, carelessness, or insufficiency generally lies with the complainant. The law requires a higher standard of evidence than otherwise, to support an allegation of negligence against a doctor. In cases of medical negligence the patient must establish her/ his claim against the doctor. Visit Professional negligence solicitors for more information.

kimberly said...

"BOTCHED DENTISTRY ABROAD IN COSTA RICA" My name is Kimberly and I'm an American. I went on revahealth, also know as what a clinic.com (which is based in Ireland) to find affordable quality dentistry abroad. Revahealth stated that they wanted both good and bad reviews on their web-site about their physicians so that the public can make informed choices. That is not at all the case. Several medical tourism companies use this man and none of the medical tourism companies I wrote to about my experience would post my review. I offered every company x-rays of before and after treatment, photo's and medical reports from several dentist in both America and Costa Rica stating the severly botched dentistry I recieved from Doctor Alberto Coto Calvo at High Tech Dental Clinic just outside of San Jose Costa Rica. This man broke my tooth and caused 3 root canals to be preformed while under his care, left me with 10 open margins ( the crowns are popped off the teeth ), and most importantly he screwed up my bite so badly that I now suffer from severe TMJ, constant pain, can't eat or speak properly etc... He would not return the small fortune that I paid him nor would he pay to have my teeth fixed. The cost to fix my bite alone is $35,000 and thousands for for root canals etc... ( and I don't have the money to fix this mess he caused me ). In addition, I was almost charged with a felony in Costa Rica for complaining about my botched treatment publically and I fled that country immediately. My story is on U-Tube under "warning medical tourism nightmare in san jose costa rica" It is very important to get this story out because plenty of Europeans also flock abroad for affordable dentistry as well.