The Price of Medical Tourism: The Legal Implications of Surgery Abroad

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Summary:Medical tourism, or traveling abroad to obtain medical services, has evolved into a global health care phenomenon, with over 15 million U.S. patients each year seeking medical care internationally, representing a $50 billion dollar industry in 2017. Speculation and media fascination about the growing industry, diverse destinations, and rationale behind the medical tourists is rampant; however, the legal implications of tourism medicine, particularly when it goes wrong, are often unclear. On the international stage, accreditation agencies are limited in scope and practice, legal jurisdiction is difficult to establish, and the enforcement of rulings is nearly impossible. Patients seeking tourism medicine have little legal recourse and shoulder all the legal burden.

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