Medical tourism: Good or bad?

by laurie.c on February 16, 2015 - 12:45pm

According to the World Health Organization, medical tourism is the act of travelling “across international borders to receive some form of medical treatment.”(Kelley) Medical tourism has become increasingly popular for Canadians, since patients often have to wait really long before getting their treatment done in the Canadian health care system. This industry is consistently growing, even with the cautioning and warning of some health experts. Canadians are going out of the country mainly to get treated faster, to save money, or to be treated with procedures that do not exist in Canada. The article “Should medical tourism be used to supplement gaps in our health care system?” by the Montreal Gazette, indicates “that almost 50,000 Canadians travelled for medical interventions in 2013.”(Seidman) Is medical tourism a good way to get around our slow and in some ways problematic health care system? 
One may argue that medical tourism can be dangerous, but overall, it is more positive than negative. People who are sick would do anything to try to get a cure. Living in pain and suffering is something no one wants to live. It is inhuman and unethical to let people suffer when they could get relief. Medical tourism is good because people can get faster treatment, so suffer less. Also, Canadians can save a lot of money by getting treatments overseas, because even with insurance, some treatments can cost a lot of money. Getting treatment oversees is way better than getting the same treatment here and then being in debt since the cost was way too huge for your budget. Also, as the academic journal article “Medical Tourism: A Look at How Medical Outsourcing Can reshape Health Care” states, international hospitals are more welcoming and the quality of care is better than in North American hospitals. The hospitals are cleaner and patients are treated better and can get treated faster. (Bennie)
Some may argue that this way of getting medically treated is dangerous, and they are right in some part. Patients have to be careful when looking for clinics in other countries of the world. Some clinics may not be good. However, patients can quite easily look on the Internet if the hospital is certified and have many information about whether it is a hospital trustworthy or not. Patients have to make use of their self-judgment, and if they do so, they won’t be implied in any sort of danger. They could also use the internet to contact a patient who has had previous experience with that hospital to have more information. 
Work cited
Seidman, Karen. “Should medical tourism be used to supplement gaps in our health care system?” Montreal Gazette. Montreal Gazette, 14 February 201. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.
Bennie, Rebecca. “Medical Tourism: A look at How Medical Outsourcing Can Reshape Health Care.”  Texas International Law Journal. 49. 3(2014):583-600. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 feb.2015.
Edward Kelley. Medical tourism: WHO Patient Safety Program.Np: World Health Organization. 15 feb.2015. 


I was always under the impression that the health care system in Canada was one where people could get treatment quickly and not fall between the cracks. However, after reading your post, which was really interesting, I realize that my view of the Canadian medical system was flawed. From your post, I think that you are looking at the issue through a utilitarian perspective. Utilitarianism is a teleological theory and its summum bonum is to increase happiness and decrease suffering. Your discussion of the issue fits this description to a tee. By travelling for a medical intervention, the patient is reducing his or her suffering since he or she is receiving treatment faster and, at the same time, is reducing the pressure on the overloaded system, thus helping others decrease their suffering since they will receive treatment faster. You could even say that medical tourists are increasing the happiness of people in the country they are visiting by creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Of course, there are possible dangers associated with medical tourism that need to be taken into account and you aptly point those out. Mentioning the perspective through which you are looking at the issue would have made your post that much more interesting.

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