Interview with Sanivisit in Reston, Virginia

This morning I met with executives from Sanivisit, a new medical tourism company based here in Reston, Virginia.  This company is affiliated with the Colsanitas corporation in Bogotá, Colombia.

I met with Mr. Alberto Ospina, a native Bogotano and President of Sanivisit and his colleague, Ms. Monica Wainbarg, Medical Tourism Advisor.  Both of them were very gracious and interested in this project.

I was surprised and pleased to see that both of these individuals have certainly done their homework.  In this past, I have had mixed experiences with medical tourism companies.  Some have been excellent, but others like the LaMontes, (interviewed for Cartagena surgery project) were blatant opportunists with little understanding or caring about the specialized needs of the medical tourist.

This was not the case with Sanivisit.  Both of the executives I met with have personally visited and met with all of the physicians involved.  They have toured and inspected travel facilities, and have arranged for VIP services for their clients.  As Mr. Ospina explained, “I’ve been in every hotel, measured the rooms, talked to the staff.  I make sure that rooms are clean, and comfortable.  I make sure that there is room for wheelchair accessibility. I talk to everyone. I make sure that everyone involved knows what we are doing.”

This includes arranging for transportation, diagnostic testing, doctors appointments, private nursing care after surgery, and even physician house calls, if needed.

Right now, they are trying to get the Colsanitas hospitals included in some of the medical tourism pilot projects (as alternatives to India) with several health insurance companies.  As readers know, several other large health insurance companies already support and encourage medical tourism excursions, and have establish separate divisions to assist medical tourism efforts.  (Unfortunately, in many cases these divisions exclusively work with Indian hospitals.  As we’ve discussed at Cartagena Surgery on multiple occasions, and published elsewhere on-line – India is a less than ideal location for American patients for several reasons.)

Since the company is in its infancy. the next year will be the trial by fire for Colombian medical tourism, Sanivisit and Colsanitas.  They seem like genuine, and caring individuals.  I wish them the best of luck.

In the future, I hope to interview some of their returning clients for readers here – to get their perspectives and experiences.


For the sake of absolute transparency and honesty, I would like to disclose that I have offered several of my articles on Medical tourism to Sanivisit for their use (with no compensation or remuneration.)

Update: October 2011

Sanivisit participates in medical tourism conference

Medical Tourism in my own backyard..

New agreement with Colsanitas and a company in Northern Virginia is bringing Colombia to the author’s backyard..

Now, for more intimate details of the Bogotá Colsanitas facilities and the surgeons operating there – you’ll have to pick up a copy of Bogotá! The book is being reviewed right now, so we’re getting closer and closer to publication..

Images of Surgery in Colombia

I have published several Images of Surgery in Colombia to the web to give outsiders a glimpse into the operating rooms here in Bogota.  But since Yahoo! has overhauled their site – I will publish images here for readers, including photos from some of my other travels (Mexico, Medellin).

However, please do not use/ copy/ alter these images without my express written permission.  (All photos by K. Eckland)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



In the OR with Dr. Javier Maldonado

Dr. Javier Maldonado, cardiac surgeon

No southern accent, per say, just a gentle, relaxed way of speaking that reminds me of home.. Went to the operating room with Dr. Javier Maldonado at Clinica Colombia this morning, for a three vessel off-pump CABG.  Everything went smooth – textbook perfect..

I followed him to the Cardiovascular ICU  and then to his cardiac clinic to see patients..

After a productive and pleasant morning (and afternoon), I raced over to Clinica Shaio to catch the end of the minimally invasive cardiac surgery symposium, and to interview Dr. Barbosa, one of the first surgeons I interviewed for the Cartagena book..

Dr. Javier Maldonado

Cardiac surgeon, Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota, Clinica Colombia

Dr. Jairo Ramirez and Dra. Stella Martinez

My early morning surgery plan fell apart – so I will try again next week. Met with Dr. Jairo Ramirez, MD, FACS over at Santa Fe de Bogota this morning. Dr. Ramirez is a vascular and thoracic surgeon, and the Chief of Vascular Surgery (at SF de B) but he reports the majority of his practice is the treatment of venous disease such as varicosities and venous stasis ulcers.

This afternoon, I met with Dra. Stella Martinez Jaramillo, (thoracic surgeon) and she is a fascinating lady. We had a great chat – and scheduled a day for me to see her in action..I am definitely looking forward to it.

Spoke with Dr. Javier Maldonado, cardiac surgeon on the phone today to set up an appointment next week over at Clinica Colombia. Now, I thought he completed some of his training in the USA but I could swear I heard soft traces of a southern accent – and Cleveland is a far cry from my native Virginia.. There must be a story there – or my overactive imagination.. I’ll keep you posted.