|It's not uncommon at all to take advantage of the trip to enjoy the local fiesta.|
Here are some tips that will help you avoid the most common mistakes that medical tourists make.
1.- Take into consideration the extra costs... and then add some padding.
In addition to the medical costs, be prepared to pay for taxis and food and some extra medication. If someone is coming with you, you'll have to pay for a hotel and meals. You'll also want to buy souvenirs for yourself or someone else.
You might have emergency costs as well, depending on how risky the procedure is.
In addition to all that, I strongly suggest some padding, just in case.
2.- What about your medical records?
Not all countries treat medical records in the same way. In some countries, it's your doctor who keeps them, in others, it's you. You have to inform yourself with the doctor or the hospital in the other country about how the records will be handled.
You may need to have your medical records translated to Spanish, or viceversa.
3.- Inform yourself about the procedure, the risks and the post-care.
You should do this even when having a procedure at home. In the case of post-care, you have to decide beforehand if you're going to have it abroad or back home.
4.- Prevent or prepare for illnesses abroad.
It's not uncommon to get stomachaches if it's your first time abroad, since your body isn't used to the food. Different climates or altitudes may also give you a cold or a headache. I recommend taking basic medications for common ailments with you. You should also get all the recommended vaccines for the country you're going to.
Better yet, make your body more resistant to illnesses by eating well and stopping smoking and drinking.
5.- Think about what you'd do in case something goes wrong.
I'm saying this not because you're going on a medical trip abroad. Even at home, many patients just don't think about how to handle emergencies. What's the worst case scenario? How likely is it and what will happen if such a scenario comes true?
Although I don't like to talk about death, in some circumstances, it's a possibility, and after all, it's part of life. If you're getting a life or death procedure abroad because you can't afford it at home, make arrangements and important decisions, like whether you want to donate your organs or not, ahead of time.
Of course, there are many other factors to take into consideration. Remember, it's your responsibility to be informed and to make the best possible decisions about your health.
Robert Ervin is a freelancer who writes about healthcare, medical tourism, and living in Mexico.
If you're considering traveling to Mexico for healthcare or retiring in Mexico, you may want to get yourself a copy of The English's Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico, in order to find a good doctor or hospital in the main towns and cities of Mexico, or The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico, to understand how the Mexican healthcare system works.