The Risks of Going Abroad for Surgery
You may be considering going abroad for surgery. Perhaps because the surgery is not available on the NHS or you are put off by the prices charged by private clinics.
We ask, are cheaper prices worth going abroad for surgery? What happens if the surgery goes wrong? Let’s take a look at the costly implications of going abroad for surgery.
When Surgery Goes Wrong Abroad
Michelle Williams, a 46-year-old British woman, travelled to Turkey for rhinoplasty surgery but suffered a cardiac arrest and seizures following general anaesthetic. As a result, she spent 12 weeks in intensive care and may never fully recover, having suffered brain damage.
Her family is suing the hospital for medical negligence; the hospital had initially demanded they pay a £20,000 medical bill and refused to allow Ms Williams to leave. Eventually, an agreement was reached and Ms Williams was allowed to travel back to the UK for hospitalisation.
This is a real-life example of the possible implications of going abroad for surgery. Despite Ms Williams having conducted research into her chosen surgery, she was still left with a life-altering experience no patient should ever have to go through.
Experiences such as Ms Williams’ only reinforce the importance of seeking surgery from qualified and credible surgeons and clinics and best they be at home in the UK. No matter the operation, surgeons should always meet the necessary standards to practice ethically and competently.
The Benefits of UK Surgery
No operation is risk-free, however, the benefits of UK surgery far outweigh the drawbacks. If you are considering going abroad for surgery, you must take into account the medical and financial implications should the surgery go wrong. That is why we advocate having surgery at home, in a UK hospital or clinic with surgeons qualified and recognised by the General Medical Council.
In the UK, you have access to the NHS should your surgery result in a serious complication. However, if you are having surgery abroad, you risk leaving yourself to the mercy of a foreign health system. Additionally, travel and health insurance do not guarantee protection. In the case of Ms Williams, her operation was not covered by her health insurance.
Private surgery in the UK can be costly compared to the cost abroad, depending on the clinic and the operation. The service and benefits you receive for that cost can protect you from complications. Furthermore, is it right that we should expect the NHS to fix us when we have chosen to go abroad. As a patient-centred clinic, we understand the needs of people seeking surgery. With Suffolk Breast Practice, the cost you pay ensures that you are treated as an individual with quality aftercare and follow-up services from surgeons who are regulated and qualified.
Our surgeons have a combined experience of over 25 years on breast procedures, working privately and within the NHS, and always adhere to an ethical code of professional conduct. Indeed, patient safety is our first priority. We at Suffolk Breast Practice are fully accredited and are members of The Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Association of Breast Surgery.
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