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.
According to Patients Beyond Borders, almost 1.5 million Americans traveled abroad last year for procedures ranging from orthopaedic surgery to dental care.
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..
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.
Survivors From The MK Ultra Program Come Together To Sue The Federal Government
According to this CTV News article, survivors and families of an MK Ultra brainwashing program run by Dr. Ewen Cameron at McGill University in Montreal in the 1950s and 1960s have banded together to bring the horrors of this program more fully into the public eye.
They are planning a class action lawsuit against the provincial and federal government, an initiative which lawyer Alan Stein feels optimistic about:
“I believe we can claim moral damages as a result of the experiments when Dr. Cameron used these people as guinea pigs.”—lawyer Alan Stein
There is reason to take Alan Stein seriously in this matter. He has successfully represented numerous survivors who were once patients at the infamous Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University.
In 1992, then Justice Minister Kim Campbell compensated 77 former patients of the program, but denied others a payout because they were deemed not damaged enough. Stein has handled several lawsuits and out of court settlements since.
Public Apology Is Primary
What is different with this class action suit is that the primary objective of the victims is a public apology and an admission of complicity on the part of the government. In previously successful individual lawsuits, money was paid out based on the extent of damage—such as the degree to which the victim had reached a ‘childlike state’—and not on the fundamental principal that citizens’ human rights had been egregiously violated.
I will not detail the litany of human rights abuses that were perpetrated by the MK Ultra program here. This episode of the Fifth Estate might be a good place to start if you are interested in getting more details about the kind of cruel and subversive treatment victims had to endure, treatment that often damaged patients for life. Suffice it to say that none of the patients provided informed consent or knew that they were being used for Cameron’s CIA and federally funded research. Instead, they were wrongly told their treatments were medically necessary and for their own well-being.
Those survivors who were deemed damaged enough to warrant compensation or the family members who were fighting on their behalf were forced by the government to sign non-disclosure agreements. Much of the motivation behind survivors and their families coming together this time and taking collective action is borne out of the frustration that the government continues to do everything in its power to hush up the existence of this program and prevent revelations of these inhumane acts from becoming part of everyday discourse.
These events, like the holocaust, should become strongly ingrained into our collective psyches so that we can heal from them, and also empower ourselves to prevent this abuse of authority from happening in the future.
What is promising is that more and more people are rejecting the avenue of getting paid off for their silence, and are motivated to bring acts of human atrocity to the light of day, forcing those implicated to take public responsibility. The more the government resists the processes needed for healing and reconciliation that are clearly in the interests of its citizens, the deeper their hidden complicity in these tragedies will appear to those with eyes to see.
Related CE Articles:
Warning: Graphic Video Exposes A Cruel Truth Behind Designer Leather, Like Louis Vuitton
- The Facts:
The PETA video below features footage inside multiple crocodile farms in Vietnam.
- Reflect On:
Are the products that you purchase unnecessarily made from animals?
So many people, particularly those of us who live in more industrialized countries, have become obsessed with our appearance. People slave away behind a desk just so they can afford that new designer handbag or some other fashion craze. Very rarely do we ask ourselves, “Do I truly need this material item, or am I using it to fill a void?”
Even more rarely do we ask ourselves, “What material are my clothes made out of and where do they come from?” We just take a glimpse at a tag, recognize the label, and purchase it without second guessing what our money is supporting. If the process was shown to us visually, during our purchase, just think about how many people would walk away from that item.
This is how disconnected and ignorant we’ve become.
The sad truth is that the fashion industry is torturing and murdering innocent animals and destroying the environment in the process. A recent PETA video exposes the terrifying reality behind many designer leather items.
Warning: Graphic Video That Will Make You Ditch Leather Forever
Society not only considers it ‘normal’ to own leather products, but also encourages consumers to buy them because leather is considered a high quality material, one that only people with “higher statuses” can afford. In particular, crocodile skin has been a fad for a long time in the leather industry, as many luxury brands will make leather handbags, watches, shoes, belts, and other clothing items out of it.
The PETA video below features footage inside multiple crocodile farms in Vietnam. In the video, you can see that the crocodiles are still alive while being cut open and skinned. In fact, crocodiles can live for multiple hours after being skinned alive. One of the farms featured is one that provides crocodile leather for Louis Vuitton, which is often viewed as a symbol of prosperity, but should really be viewed as a symbol of cruelty.
The Chilling Truth Behind The Fashion Industry
Crocodiles aren’t the only animals to be tortured, skinned alive, and forced to endure a slow and painful death. Leather can be made from a variety of animals including the more obvious choices of cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals like alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even house pets such as dogs and cats. You may be thinking, “I’d never wear leather from cats and dogs!” However, ask yourself these two questions: What makes dogs and cats so different from other animals and how would you even be able to distinguish between leather made from a dog and leather made from a cow?
No, North America doesn’t kill dogs and cats for leather, but they do import leather products from China, where cats and dogs are killed for their meat and then skinned for leather. In fact, most leather actually comes from China or India and there’s no way to determine where (or whom) your leather is coming from (source).
Wool isn’t any better either; you’d assume that manufacturers would want to keep the animals alive and treat them with care since wool doesn’t technically require an animal to die. It seems this would be more economical, yet these animals are tortured and often die as a result of the brutality that takes place on wool farms (you can read about that here).
I’ve also heard people argue that leather is more environmentally sustainable than other cruelty-free alternatives. Yes, it may have a longer product lifecycle than some vegan alternatives; however, it’s also responsible for the same environmental degradation the meat industry causes and further pollution from the dying and tanning processes. To give you a few statistics:
“Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.”
“Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day.” (source)
So, How Do We Transition To A Leather-Free Fashion Industry?
We torture and murder these animals, all for what? A pair of shoes? A wallet to hold the cards that are literally driving you into debt? I’ll admit, there’s a certain practicality behind leather because of its durability, but there are numerous vegan materials that are equally as strong and long-lasting. Some of the awesome, vegan, eco-friendly alternatives to leather include waxed cotton, paper, cork, tree bark “leather,” and one of my personal favourites, recycled tires! PETA has a comprehensive list of vegan leathers that are just as sleek and durable as real leather.
I ditched all of my leather products a long time ago; however, I completely understand the struggle to do so. If you own a lot of leather, it can be expensive and wasteful to simply throw it out. You have a few options: you could sell your leather goods, donate them to a shelter or a facility that refurbishes or recycles leather, or trade them with friends for other cruelty-free options!
It’s also important to recognize that, at one point in time, using animals to create our clothing served us. Animal skin and fur was able to provide our ancestors with enough warmth to survive in colder climates. It was also a more sustainable option for clothing at the time if they were killing the animal for food anyways (long before factory farming became mainstream).
However, now is the time to divest from animal products and move towards a cruelty-free future. We’ve seen how these animals are treated and there’s no way to justify the terror that takes place in these facilities. We know that consuming animal products is of a very low vibration and that simply cannot serve us if we want to raise our consciousness and lead the collective towards a brighter future. Animals weren’t put on this Earth to serve us; they’re not ours to take, just like the environment isn’t ours to destroy.
Say goodbye to your leather so you can look great on the outside and feel even better on the inside!
Engineers Develop A Device That ‘Literally Generates Electricity Out of Thin Air’
- The Facts:
Electrical engineers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have created a device that literally generates energy out of thin air.
- Reflect On:
Why do none of the truly "free" energy sources we keep hearing about never come to market?
A new study published in Nature entitled “Power generation from ambient humidity using protein nanowires” has discovered an interesting way to harvest energy from the environment, creating the potential for another clean power generating system that is self-sustaining. According to the authors,
“thin-film devices made from nanometre-scale protein wires harvested from the microbe Geobacter sulfurreducens can generate continuous electric power in the ambient environment. The devices produce a sustained voltage of around 0.5 volts across a 7-micrometre-thick film, with a current density of around 17 microamperes per square centimetre. We find the driving force behind this energy generation to be a self-maintained moisture gradient that forms within the film when the film is exposed to the humidity that is naturally present in air.”
The study also mentions that “connecting several devices linearly scales up the voltage and current to power electronics” and that their results “demonstrate the feasibility of a continuous energy-harvesting strategy that is less restricted by location or environmental conditions than other sustainable approaches.”
So, how is this all possible? Well, more than three decades ago a “sediment organism” was discovered in the Potomac river that could do things nobody had ever observed before in bacteria. The microbe belonged to the Geobacter genus, and over time scientists discovered that it could make bacterial nanowires that conduct electricity.
Electricity Out Of Thin Air
According to the team that published the study, their device uses this finding to create electricity from the atmosphere. One of the electrical engineers, Jun Yao, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, stated that they are “literally making electricity out of thin air.” They are calling it the “Air-gen” and it generates clean energy 24/7, thanks to the electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by Geobacter.
The idea that a device can create energy with nothing but the presence of air around it is quite exciting, it works by using a thin film of the protein nanowires mentioned measuring just micrometres thick that are positioned between two electrodes that are also exposed to the air. It’s because of this exposure that the nanowire film is able to absorb the water vapour that’s abundant within the atmosphere. This is what allows the device to generate a continuous electric current.
The new technology developed in Yao’s lab is non-polluting, renewable and low-cost. It can generate power even in areas with extremely low humidity such as the Sahara Desert. It has significant advantages over other forms of renewable energy including solar and wind, Lovley says, because unlike these other renewable energy sources, the Air-gen does not require sunlight or wind, and “it even works indoors.”
The researchers say that the current generation of Air-gen devices are able to power small electronics, and they expect to bring the invention to commercial scale soon. Next steps they plan include developing a small Air-gen “patch” that can power electronic wearables such as health and fitness monitors and smart watches, which would eliminate the requirement for traditional batteries. They also hope to develop Air-gens to apply to cell phones to eliminate periodic charging.
Yao says, “The ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems. For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could help power your home. Or, we may develop stand-alone air-powered generators that supply electricity off the grid. Once we get to an industrial scale for wire production, I fully expect that we can make large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production.” (source)
An addition to the Air-gen, Yao’s laboratory has created several other applications using protein nanowires that are showing strong potential. Apparently this is just the beginning in a new era of protein-based electronic devices–if this technology is actually allowed to fully develop.
Human beings have so much potential, and we’ve had solutions to many of our problems for quite some time. Developments like this never seem to come to commercial scale as promised, and are not really ‘put out there’ nor marketed as they should be.
The Invention Secrecy Act of 1951
I’ve personally always wondered about the Invention Secrecy Act that was written up in 1951. Under this act, patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders. These orders can restrict their publication if government agencies believe that their disclosure would be harmful to national security. I believe, as expressed by Julian Assange and many others, that national security has now become an umbrella term not to really protect national security, but corporate security and profits. After all, many corporations have a stranglehold of influence on the government.
The fact that Steven Aftergood from the Federation of American Scientists obtained a list from 1971 and reports the restriction of a new energy device is suspicious to me.
“The 1971 list indicates that patents for solar photovoltaic generators were subject to review and possible restriction if the photovoltaics were more than 20% efficient. Energy conversion systems were likewise subject to review and possible restriction if they offered conversion efficiencies in “excess of 70-80%.” (source)
Perhaps there are technologies that are kept under wraps that have the potential to change our world? Perhaps these technologies threatened the power of some people? Who knows.
Without diving down the conspiracy rabbit hole, the point is, even with what’s available in the public domain, we have and have had the means to change our world in a number of ways, yet it seems these technologies never seem to be implemented en masse. The solutions aren’t the problem, so ask yourself, what is?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about what I’ve been into for the past 15 years, it’s that scarcity is a joke, and it doesn’t exist. It’s made to exist, and it’s necessary for economics, and anything that comes along (there have been many examples) that threatens the idea of scarcity is done away with, fast. A lack of scarcity, especially of key resources, completely destroys modern day economics and the foundation of what our ‘new world’ was built off of. We have more than enough ways to provide abundance to all. But a world of abundance has to be a world that is not driven or motivated by power. The solutions to all of our problems exist, in ways that continue to be hidden from us.
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