North American doctors routinely advise their patients to bring a family member or friend to a consultation for surgery. Healthcare consumers are starting to retain patient advocates and patient representatives whose sole concerns are the patient's wellbeing and who are not employed by the hospital.
This makes a great deal of sense, not just at home but especially for medical travelers who are most vulnerable when preparing for and undergoing surgery in an unfamiliar country.
Any patient anticipating surgery is anxious and concerned about the upcoming operation: about following pre-surgery instructions; about the procedure itself; about the quality of the surgeon and hospital chosen; about paying for it; about all the family chores and activities that need to be put on hold; and about the recovery and return to work.
Patients anywhere are usually at a disadvantage coming to a hospital for surgery because, if they have led healthy lives, they likely have never had surgery before, have not had anesthesia, and have not spent any time in recovery. They've never been overnight in hospital and have nothing to which to compare their experiences.
Medical travelers have even more concerns.
Travel itself is wearing. And so is the jet lag that follows.
Add to this the uncertainties and confusion a patient experiences coming to a different culture, hearing a different language, eating different food, and experiencing different social customs.
The typical medical traveler arrives at the doctor's office exhausted, anxious, and bewildered. The questions he or she intended to ask the doctor have been forgotten. Promises to call anxious family members have been put aside.
But it does not have to be this way. A medical concierge or international patient manager will walk you through the steps of your preparation and planning before you leave home.
Whether you do your own research via reliable sources on the internet such as websites of the medical associations and highly regarded hospitals, or whether you succumb to the tabloid-like chatter of internet bulletin boards and chat rooms, a trained professional medical concierge will provide excellent support for you, lead you through an unfamiliar system, and help you get the most from your international surgery experience.
She will be there at your consultation and the steps leading up to your surgery. She will ensure your care is progressing according to your expectations. She will reassure your family and friends as needed, and manage your concerns and questions.
She will optimize your post-surgery recovery and healing according to the doctor's instructions. She will continue to be your contact for any questions or concerns you may have after you return home.
In short, your international medical concierge will ensure that your medical vacation goes as planned so that you have a safe, medically excellent surgical procedure, an uneventful recovery and pleasant trip home.