The term ‘medical tourism ‘ collectively refers to the practice of leaving one’s country and going to another to avail medical benefits. These benefits usually include cosmetic plastic surgeries and other treatments. Some countries are so popular for their plastic surgery procedures that they attract people from all over the world. People want to go there and experience their service and get a permanent facial job done.
Why is medical tourism on the rise?
Initially, medical tourists only travelled from developing nations to the already developed ones in hopes of landing better medical facilities. Nowadays, due to globalisation and the broad mindedness of citizens, medical tourists do not mind travelling from the developed nations to the developing ones since they have better chances of inexpensive and effective medical procedures. The reasons may also revolve around the legality of some treatments in some countries.
What is the current arisen issue of medical tourism?
Very recently, three Chinese women had the benefit of travelling to South Korea to get plastic surgery done on their faces. The surgery went well but left them beyond recognition. They no longer look like their passport profiles and hence, were detained at the Korean airport and not allowed to fly back home. There was no other way of finding out if what these women said was true, so the airport officials decided to hold them back.
This issue came into picture regarding medical tourism and the reliability and trustworthiness of medical tourists. It is quite a shame that medical tourists had to be stranded at the airport just because they underwent a surgery and had swollen faces and bandages all over. It would be even shameful if it was a graver issue like a cancer survivor damaged physically who was asked to stay back at the airport because their picture on the passport did not match with their current look.
How can such situations be dealt with?
Owing to its name and an over-the-top reputation, South Korea is the land where plenty of people travel to get their plastic surgeries done. In situations like these, hospital authorities must make sure to hand over to their patients a certificate ensuring that they underwent a certain plastic surgery treatment and hence, have a new look. These surgeries are very well executed and carried out with such perfection that most of the times it becomes almost impossible to recognise the individual.
Instead of detaining them at the airport due to their new look, medical tourists must be given a different identity recognition, which will not only aid the officials in identifying them, but also will allow them to travel back to their homeland. A picture certificate carrying before and after surgery pictures can also serve the purpose.
How is it damaging the reputation of medical tourism?
Medical tourism is being perceived in a wrong light since this situation took place. People are assuming it to be a scam or a fraudulent means to smuggle people from one nation to the other. They fail to understand that medical tourism is just another way of providing medical treatment and benefits to global citizens. The manner in which mass media portrays medical tourism is extremely unacceptable. It is causing severe damage to the entire practice and is quite contrary to what medical tourism does to its people.
When one’s own country does not provide them the medical benefits its citizens are looking for, they will find themselves seeking it in a foreign land. Even so, being a global citizen, they must not be prohibited from doing the same. Also, countries who welcome such tourists into their land should take into consideration that these people will not be in the same physical condition that they were in when they entered their country. The very purpose of their visit is to subject themselves to a medical treatment which may or may not change their physical appearance. It is very important to take note of this fact that appearances may also change beyond recognition.
It is the duty of the officials and authorities to make sure that the guests in their country leave with the same dignity and respect with which they were let in. Taking medical tourists into custody just because they underwent cosmetic surgery and had their facial features changed for the better is just not acceptable. Such authorities should come up with a more effective way of dealing with this hassle of individual recognition. They may allot each one a number or take note of a different physical feature to differentiate one individual from another. They can also issue ‘plastic surgery certificates’ to make sure if it is the same individual before and after treatment.