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Is Medical Tourism a Viable Option? A Look At The Pros And Cons

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Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Without health insurance or even sometimes with health insurance, many patients are electing to skip necessary procedures because they simply can’t afford to pay for them.

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According to Patients Beyond Borders, almost 1.5 million Americans traveled abroad last year for procedures ranging from orthopaedic surgery to dental care.

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The motivation: savings of 50 to 80 percent on procedures performed in hospitals that meet strict international standards for patient care. Often, the doctors performing the surgeries have been trained at top hospitals in the United Sates. Their services often are augmented with round-the-clock, one-on-one nursing care.

Fueling the Trend

Medical tourism is not a one-way street. State-of-the-art hospitals in India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Eastern Europe are aggressively courting these foreign patients. What many of them have in common is accreditation from the Joint Commission International, an affiliation that provides patients with assurance that their care will meet internationally recognized standards.

On the other end, dozens of so-called “medical tourism” travel agencies have sprung up to help match patients with appropriate hospitals and doctors, and then they facilitate the travel arrangements. Some of them, such as Chicago-based Med Retreat, have helped thousands of patients each year find the right medical fit for their needs.

Are Foreign Doctors and Hospitals Safe?

Similar to the U.S, there are good doctors and good hospitals, and bad doctors and bad hospitals. When researching any doctor, it’s important to ask as many questions about the doctor’s education and training as possible. A comforting fact most medical tourism researchers discover is that a surprising number of foreign doctors were trained in the U.S..

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When it comes to choosing a foreign hospital, be sure to ask just as many questions and to choose a hospital that has been certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations or has received a quality certification from the International Standards Organization.

Are There Any Disadvantages of Medical Tourism?

There are a few disadvantages concerning medical tourism. For example, a patient may have a hard time adjusting to the foreign country’s culture or food/water. Long flights, especially after surgery, may increase a patient’s risk for deep vein thrombosis or blood clots, among other health risks. Blood clots can cause painful swelling of a limb, and if a clot dislodges, it can travel to the lungs, resulting in death.

And on a legal note, should a patient file a malpractice lawsuit, he/she will have to file it in the country where the surgery was performed. As a result, the patient and doctor will be subject to that country’s laws, which can lead to a lengthy trial. Also, should the patient win a malpractice suit, the settlement may be considerably less than what a similar suit in the U.S. would settle for.

Is Medical Tourism Right for You?

Not everyone is a good candidate for overseas medical care. Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders: Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Tourism, cautions that there’s more than just finances to consider before heading to a foreign country for a surgery you couldn’t afford back home. His checklist includes these areas of concern:

    Are you healthy enough to travel? Long flights and delays can tax the strength of even the healthiest traveler, and most hospitals serving medical tourists are far away.

    Can you withstand culture shock? Novice travelers should think twice about how they will likely respond to instant immersion into another culture, even if they are promised to be picked up in a private car and pampered throughout their treatment.

    Are you capable of the required homework? Finding the right doctor, making complex travel arrangements, and arranging for after-care back home is a daunting proposition. Medical travel agencies can help, but it’s up to the patients to do much of the legwork.

    Are the financial savings worth it? Woodman cites the $6,000 rule: If your U.S. specialist quotes a price of $6,000 or more for the treatment you need, chances are that an accredited foreign hospital can offer the same procedure for less, including the costs of transportation and lodging.

The United States For Elective International Patients

The Deloitte Report found that inbound tourists to the United States are more concerned about quality care than they are about the money they spend. Therefore, United States medical facilities providing inbound medical tourism programs are well-known teaching hospitals that have earned international reputations.

Initiatives to attract inbound tourists include:

     • Joint healthcare projects to promote opportunities available to foreign travelers seeking medical care. Several United States health care facilities have listed services in international medical directories, and United States and foreign physicians are cross-training to help increase the number of referrals to both places.

     • Visa Waiver Program (VWP): This program has been established by the United States in order to stimulate the tourism industry. The Visa Waiver Program will enable medical tourists of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism stays of 90 days or less without having to obtain a Visa. They are required, however, to apply for authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Medical tourism is an excellent resource for people searching for affordable healthcare. But as with any other type of healthcare, it is essential to thoroughly research the doctors, the hospitals, and the pros and cons of having a procedure done abroad. If you’re contemplating medical tourism, you should consult with a medical practitioner in your home country or your family doctor to discuss your options.

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Ontario’s Municipal Police Departments Reject Doug Ford’s “Stop & Ask” COVID Order

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to an investigative report, the vast majority of Ontario police will not follow Doug Ford's COVID measure asking police to stop citizens in their cars to find out where they are going during the current stay at home order.

  • Reflect On:

    Might we see law enforcement stand up to other draconian orders the government attempts to lay down?

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On April 16th Ontario premier Doug Ford announced stricter lockdown measures, including that Ontario police, both provincial and municipal, will have the power to stop citizens and ask them where they are going in order to find out if their travel outside their home is essential or whether they may be attending a social gathering. If this sounds draconian to you, you’re certainly no alone. And the police seem to think so too.

As of the evening of April 17th, just one day later, 39 or 44 municipal police departments in Ontario have stated they will not comply with this measure and stop citizens to ask where they are going. However, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have remained onboard with the measures on social media. The tally came from investigative reporter Andrew Lawton who took it upon himself to hear from departments themselves.

Since the rejection, the Ontario government has begun changing it’s mind on the measure:

Why It Matters: This is a great example of how power is only enforced when people participate. In this case, if law enforcement went through with this, ‘the people’ wouldn’t have much of an obvious way to resist these measures, but when law enforcement denies draconian measures like this, the power the government has is restricted significantly.

Early this morning I was speaking to a fellow journalist here at CE talking about how for most people working on the police force, this measure would probably feel like one of the first times they very obviously had to ‘take things too far.’ To see only 12 hours later that the vast majority of police are standing up to this is a good sign that enforcers of rules are open to questioning their government. In my opinion, I hope this trend continues.

I also found it interesting to note that holding government accountable used to be something mainstream media would do, but now they only seem complicit in going along with government. Independent media now is tasked with the job, all while they face funding challenges and claims from mainstream and social media that independent media is not trustworthy.

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Ontario (Canada) Gives Police Authority To Pull Over Vehicles To Find Out Where They Are Going

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CE Staff Writer 6 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ontario government has just announced very strict lockdown and stay at home orders. They've also given police the power to pull people over to find out where they are going and where they live.

  • Reflect On:

    Is this really about the virus? Why are so many experts, and so much science that opposes what government is saying completely unacknowledged?

Before you begin...

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As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world. Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what’ is being built is the architecture of oppression. -Edward Snowden (source)

Ontario, Canada has just announced stronger lockdown measures after current lockdown measures and stay at home orders have not done anything to slow the spread of covid when taking cases into account. Under the new orders, most non-essential businesses, manufacturing and construction will be closed, this includes non-essential curb side pick ups as well for retail businesses. Outdoor recreational facilities like parks, basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses will now be closed and essential businesses, like grocery stores, will be limited to a certain capacity.

For the first time, the Ontario government has given police officers the power to pull vehicles over without cause, demand their ID and home address as well as ask where they are going and why. This also applies to citizens who are outside. This is effective immediately for a period of 6 weeks.

I just came across this via the live press conference. Part of the changes in the recent announcement were to give police more authority to handle non-compliance, something that’s been a big part of this pandemic as many people, doctors and scientists continue to disagree with the actions being taken by governments, while others agree. The government has also put restrictions on travel between provinces.

We have made the deliberate decision to temporarily enhance police officers’ authority for the duration of the stay at home order. Moving forward, police will have the authority to require any individual who is not in a place of residence to first provide the purpose for not being at home and provide their home address. – Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in the press conference.

The Ontario government continues to blame the citizenry for non-compliance when, in reality, there is a tremendous amount of science and data that’s been published in various medical and scientific journals from around the world showing that lockdowns have not been helpful in stopping the spread of COVID.

Furthermore, there is research showing lockdowns have killed more people than covid, and will have devastating results for years to come. Not only that, an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicates that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation.

The ease to which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence…came as a shock to me…History will look back on measures – as a monument of collective hysteria & government folly.” – Jonathan Sumption, former British supreme court justice. (source)

This is quite confusing, if lockdowns and restrictions aren’t necessarily helping to curb the spread, why is government, especially the Ontario government, acting like they are effective and necessary tools? This is a discussion that has not been had within the mainstream. Renowned experts in the field who are presenting this data have been completely ignored, censored and in many cases ridiculed.

Another point that’s being used to justify restriction measures is the fact that hospitals in Ontario are at capacity, and ICUs are full. This has always been a concern in many countries, especially in Ontario, Canada. For example, in 2017 more than 50 percent of hospitals in Ontario were above 100 percent capacity. There are examples all over the world for the past decade. That being said, is covid adding to this, or is it simply something we’ve always seen in hospitals? Is the only difference big media coverage?

What about the fact that PCR testing may yield an enormous amount of false positives? Testing positive does not mean you have the virus, or that you can spread it, especially if you are asymptomatic, yet this entire lockdown is based on testing asymptomatic people and asymptomatic cases. What about the death count and the fact that Ontario Public Health has admitted to the fact that they are marking deaths as “covid” when it’s not even clear if covid caused or contributed to the death? What about the fact that the survival rate of the virus is 99.95 percent and above for people under the age of 70, or that prior infection can provide more immunity than the vaccine?

Again, the point is,there are many concerns that are being completely ignored and unacknowledged.

In the case of covid, it’s quite clear that people of all backgrounds and professions are split. You even have world renowned experts in the field split on these issues, with many opposing and supporting measures. As a result, this has many people confused, and it begs the question, should government really have the authority to put mandates into place that restrict our movement, rights and freedoms?

Is this really about the virus, or about the benefits that big tech, health and government will reap and have been reaping from this pandemic? When measures go against the will of so many people, should government not be allowed to mandate such measures and instead, present their science and make recommendations to people, leaving them the choice to act in ways they see fit?

Are we living in an age where government and big tech are doing the thinking for us, telling us what is and isn’t and trying to control our lives more and more every single year? How do we stop this if it’s true? Why do we continue to comply? One thing is certain, covid has been a great catalyst for more and more people to really question what type of world we are currently living in.

So what’s the solution to this? Is it mass/collective organized peaceful non-compliance? A Belgian court has ruled that the current COVID-19 measures being deployed don’t have a sound legal basis. The State has 30 days to lift restrictions or face fines. Can something like this happen in this situation? We will wait and see what happens as, no doubt, many people are going to be upset and showing it.

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Florida Education Minister Urges Schools To Drop Mask Mandates

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said schools should make mask-wearing voluntary in the 2021-2022 school year, stating that they should simply be optional.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is one narrative being pushed hard, while the other is being heavily ridiculed and labelled as "dangerous" by mainstream media and government?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

What Happened: Earlier this week, Florida’s education commissioner directed all schools to drop mask mandates for the next school year because, according to him, they are not necessary and can simply be an optional measure for students and parents. According to him, mask policies “do not impact the spread of the virus” and they “may impede instruction” for some students. The decision is not up to him, however, as each individual district will ultimately decide whether or not they want to impose mask mandes for next school year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently convened a round table on public health. At that discussion, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University Dr. Jay Bhattacharya stated that “masks have not only been not effective but have been harmful.”

The video of this discussion was removed from YouTube, and then ridiculed by mainstream media. This has been a big problem throughout this pandemic. We have big tech “fact-checkers” censoring and removing any kind of narrative that does not fit within the framework or narrative that government health authorities are telling us. If things were so obvious, why would they need to censor world renowned experts?  It’s been a common theme, and Bhattacharya is one of many who have been subjected to this type of treatment.

He’s one of the three initiators of The Great Barrington Declaration. The other two are  Dr. Sunetra Gupta, PhD Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist. You can watch an interesting discussion with all three of them here if interested.

Bhattacharya responded to the criticism in a recent piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stating the following:

I attended a public-policy roundtable hosted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last month. The point was to discuss the state’s Covid policies in the months ahead. That 600,000 Americans have died with Covid-19 is evidence that the lockdowns over the past year, including significant restrictions on the lives of children, haven’t worked. Florida reopened in May and declined to shut down again. Yet age-adjusted mortality is lower in Florida than in locked-down California, and Florida’s public schools are almost all open, while California’s aren’t.

My fellow panelists—Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, Martin Kulldorff of Harvard and Scott Atlas of Stanford—and I discussed a variety of topics. One was the wisdom of requiring children to wear masks. The press asked questions, and a video of the event was posted on YouTube by local media, including Tampa’s WTSP.

But last week YouTube removed a recording of this routine policy discussion from its website. The company claimed my fellow panel members and I were trafficking in misinformation. The company said it removed the video “because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Yet the panelists are all experts, and all spoke against requiring children to wear masks. I can’t speak for my counterparts, but my reasoning was a cost-benefit analysis. The benefits of masking children are small to none; the costs are much higher.

The scientific evidence is clear.

He then goes on to cite site some science.

Kari Stefansson, senior author of a study  study from Iceland conducted early in the epidemic when masking was uncommon showing that incidents of covid in children is far less than adults, stated that children are.

“less likely to get infected than adults and if they get infected, they are less likely to get seriously ill. What is interesting is that even if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults.”

According to Bhattacharya, “many studies in the scientific literature reach a similar conclusion: Even unmasked children pose less of a risk for disease spread than adults.”

For example, Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute wrote letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” has found that:

“Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

You can read more about this specific story here, as he has quit his research due to the harassment he received for simply presenting data.

Why This Is Important: There are the points made above, and then there are papers outlining the supposed dangers and ineffectiveness of masks. Many have been published in peer-reviewed scientific/medical journals prior to covid, and during covid.

For example, one paper titled “Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis” concludes:

The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.

I’ve written about a study published in the New England Medical Journal by Harvard doctors that outlines how it’s already known that masks provide little to zero benefit when it comes to protection in a public setting. According to them,

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

The papers cited above are a few of many, there are a plethora of them available within the scientific literature.

Yes, there are also studies that claim and explain why they believe masks are an effective tool to mitigate the virus, and we know that organizations like the Centres For Disease Control (CDC) deem them to be extremely effective and necessary.  The point is, why are those who point out, explain, and provide evidence and reason for the idea that masks are not effective being heavily censored, vilified, and ridiculed? What’s going on here? Why is proper critique and discussion being completely shut down and why are those who are creating awareness about these issues labelled as “dangerous anti-maskers.” This, in my opinion is quite frankly unscientific.

Perhaps I can explore one possible explanation. Perhaps any type of information, data or evidence, no matter how credible, that opposes the measures and narrative of government and big media threatens various business/agendas in these powerful circles. It begs the question, does government and government affiliated health/business really look out for what’s best for its citizens? The COVID pandemic has definitely served as a catalyst for more people to ask that question who wouldn’t have prior to the pandemic.

This is just my opinion, but in presenting it I put our platform, Collective Evolution, at risk being punished in various ways for simply sharing it. We’ve not only been falsely smeared by fact checkers but have also been hurt financially on social media simply for bringing forth facts that the mainstream doesn’t wish to address.

The Takeaway: At the end of the day, it’s very difficult to determine who is right or wrong, which is why we need open dialogue. The fact that simple discussion and pieces of evidence that change the narrative, or threaten it, is being shut down, censored and completely ridiculed is quite concerning. The mainstream media continues to fail to have appropriate conversations surrounding all things COVID while forcing their narrative on the public. This in turn has created a great divide among the citizenry when really, we should all be coming together and respecting everybody’s decision to act as they please.

When things are not so cut and dry, it’s questionable whether or not we should really give governments the ability to control our lives in the manner they have done with this pandemic.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –

Dr. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine. He is editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open. Taken from his published a piece in the BMJ, titled “Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science.”

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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