New series of articles

I’ll be writing a new series of articles for the based on my experiences, interviews and observations here in Mexicali, MX and Calexico, California.  While the focus will be on serving the needs of the Calexico community (particularly now that there is a fast pass lane for medical travelers), I hope that all of my loyal readers will continue to support my work.

I have already published my first three articles  – and have added a new navigation section (on the side of this blog) for interested readers.

As part of this, I wrote a story about the good doctor and all of the work he is doing – including one of our recent ‘house calls’ to San Luis, in Sonora, Mexico.   It was probably one of the more difficult articles to write; due to space limitations and trying to present information in an objective fashion.  (It’s hard to present all the evidence to support your conclusions in just a few hundred words;  ie. He’s a good doctor because he does X, Y, and Z and follows H protocol according the P.”  Makes for wordy reading and not really what the Examiner is looking for.

Too bad, since readers over at haven’t had the chance to know that if the opposite is true (a less than stellar physician or treatment – that I have absolutely no reservations about presenting the evidence  and stating the facts about that either..)

Don’t worry, though – I will continue to provide that level of detail here at Cartagena Surgery – where the only limitations are my ability to type, and the (sometimes) faulty keys of my aging laptop.


Guia Cirugia

I am glad to see that many of the ideals I’ve promoted in the past – objective and unbiased medical review for medical tourists and consumers are starting to take flight.

I talked with John Coffey, in Cali, Colombia about his project , Guia Cirugia earlier this year, so I am pleased to see he was able to bring it to fruition.  (Some people would see it as competition – I see it as a necessary and needed service for consumers – so I am completely thrilled!!  I just wish there were more people interested in trying to ensure that patients (where ever they come from) receive high quality care.

JCI and the big regulatory agencies don’t count in my mind – there is just too much bureaucratic BS that gets in the way of actually getting down to the nitty-gritty;

Is the place clean?

Is the doctor licensed (at all – or in the specialty where s/he is practicing)?

Do they follow the generally accepted standards and practices for prevention of patient harm?

Do they have the technology and machinery to handle emergencies that may reasonably arise from procedures performed at that facility?  (Let me tell you – if they are operating at a Motel 6, (as we have documented before) – the answer is most assuredly NO.)

So Kudos to John and everyone else at Guia


One of my recent interviews from one of the sister sites, has been featured in the Alumni Association newsletter for the University of Guadalajara medical school.  You can see it here.

It’s an interview with a cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Orazio Amabile, who lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Not all of my writing is Colombia-related.)

In other news, I will be heading down south, to Mexico again for a few months to work on a new project.  I’ll have more details at my sister sites; cartagena surgery and cirugia de torax.

I am hoping to return to Colombia this summer for a brief writing project.  As the dates get closer and closer, I will post more information for my loyal readers.

Looks like Panama may bite off more than they can chew..

In a recently published story, the government of Panama is now offering medical  insurance for all tourists to Panama for free.  This insurance is not  ‘Complication Insurance’ which is offered by private surgeons in Colombia and other countries for patients traveling specifically for medical tourism.  Complication insurance covers all possible medical complications resulting from medical procedures at the designated clinic or destination..

No – Panama is taking the European and socialized medicine approach and is offering general medical coverage for ALL short-term travelers to Panama.  (The long-term exclusion is a wise move given the numbers of Americans and other overseas residents who make Panama their retirement home.)  This insurance resembles typical travel policies in that it covers injuries, accidents and other medical situations that may occur while on vacation..  I just hope the Panamanian government hasn’t underestimated its tourists and their injury/ illness potential.

Now readers – don’t get any wild ideas.. This is not the time to stress that ‘trick knee’ while hiking to visit the Naso-Teribes..

Meanwhile, Costa Rica is making a pitch for more corporate clients such as Pepsi-Cola.  These multi-national corporations can potentially bring hundreds of millions of healthcare dollars by diverting their employees to medical tourism destination such as Costa Rica.  (Like Colombia – Costa Rica is an ideal destination for North Americans due to proximity, quality and diversity of services available.)

The future of medical tourism: the glass ceiling

The International Medical Travel Journal has a new article that questions the notions that ‘the sky is the limit’ in the medical tourism industry.  This article discusses the belief that many investors have that as long as there is a new shiny facility, medical tourists will flock..  In reality, the market for medical tourism is fairly narrow, particularly for American medical tourists – who are the ones most likely to open their wallets and pay cold hard cash for surgical procedures overseas.  (That’s because medical care in many other countries is less expensive for residents – so why travel and pay cash for something you can get at home for relatively little expense (even if it requires waiting.) Many of these Americans are uncomfortable or unwilling to travel to more exotic locations – as Dubai has found out first hand.

Of course, plastic surgery and other elective procedures are a little different.)  But most Europeans, Canadians etc.  aren’t going to have to fork over 100,000 for heart surgery (or be uninsured) so the pool is limited.

The other class of medical tourist – the wealthy residents of countries that may not have elite services is also a mixed bag,  Many of these patients are going to elect to go to ‘big name’ American facilities despite the cost – for a specific level of care.  They may seek out specialized procedures that are unavailable or even illegal in their home countries – but that market is smaller than most of us realize.

It’s a good article that brings a dose of reality to the concept of medical tourism as a ‘cash cow’ route to easy and limitless cash.  Medical tourism is not for everyone, as investors are finding out.

New article at Eternal Beginning blog

Eternal Beginning is book review blog by avid reader (and fellow writer), Christine Cunningham.  (It is also the title of her first book.)  Christine was kind enough to feature the Bogota book on her blog.