Medical tourism business is growing leaps and bounds over the past few years. Medical tourism terminology means, people, travel to different countries or states to get better, affordable treatment and accompanied by hassle-free documentation procedures. Earlier people use to move to western countries like the US, the UK for better and advanced treatment. In recent years, Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore, India are also gaining popularity and have become a popular medical tourism center for many. Traveling to Thailand has gained popularity in recent years because of the high-class medical facilities available combined with the low cost of treatment as compared to the western countries. Most popularly known for the Sunbath treatment among the tourists and travelers, now it is also a touring medical center for people from the western as well as the Asian countries.
The most important reasons for which Thailand has become a medical tourism destination for many people are:
Spinal, orthopedic treatment is relatively cheaper in Thailand as compared to western countries like the US and UK. Also, it is possible to combine simple procedures as an out-patient visit, so the holiday time is also unaffected.
People combine their treatment with a holiday in Thailand as the procedures are relatively cheaper.
The waiting time for treatment procedures are relatively shorter, off-course people have to share their pre-medical history, medical records in advance.
The cost of treatment is relatively low as compared to the treatment cost in the western countries or middle east country like Dubai. Estimation is that the cost of treatment in Thailand is 30% less as compared to the European countries and 70% less as compared to the US.
The medical facilities are world class and the medical practitioners are highly trained and qualified.
The hospitals here are more like five-star hotels with bright ambiance, spacious and clean waiting rooms, food courts. So, it becomes a better experience for the patients and the attending relatives to spend time in the hospital rather than getting irritated or bored.
Dubai has world-class healthcare centers; both public and private healthcare centers run in Dubai. However, the healthcare facility available in Dubai is costlier as compared to Thai hospitals. So in recent years, the trend has begun of patient’s traveling from the middle east to the hospitals in Thailand particularly for orthopedic, dentistry and cosmetic treatments as well.
Private hospitals primarily drive Thailand's Medical tourism industry. The doctors are attached more to international and private hospitals as they can earn as much as 70% more than in public hospitals.
The list of leading private hospitals in Thailand is Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok Hospital Group, and Samitivej Hospitals. These hospitals are becoming globally renowned. These hospitals attract a huge folk of foreign patients and cater mostly to foreigners. Medical tourists from the west find the cost of treatment relatively cheap as compared to the treatment cost in their own country. It is estimated that about 30-40% of patients are the foreigner’s in these hospitals who are availing treatment.
Foreigners mostly avail treatment related to dentistry, cosmetic surgery, orthopedic treatment, cardiac procedures, infertility treatment and other such treatments.
Last month, a patient from Dubai was airlifted to a facility in Thailand for a spine-related ailment called Lumbar spinal stenosis.
What is Laminectomy?
It is surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis. In this procedure, a surgeon removes parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back. This relieves pressure on spinal nerves and can ease pain or weakness. In simple terms, it is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina, which is the roof of the spinal canal. However, the procedure can make the spine less stable. In this case the patient may probably need a spinal fusion as well. In some cases, the doctor’s do both the procedures simultaneously.
The success rate of decompressive laminectomy is estimated to be around 71%.
The recovery time for the patient after surgery may last for about 2-3 months. The doctor may not advise to return to full activities involving lifting and bending for this period.
In case of an unsuccessful surgery, the patient may develop potential health risk like nerve damage, blood clotting, spinal fluid leak, infection, worsening of back pain.
Before the treatment, it is more of mental and physical preparation. Detailed instruction shall be given to the patient about when to eat and drink before the operation; the patient should not wear any jewelry during the operation procedure.
It will be ideal to inform friend’s or relatives about the operation because post-operation, the person shall require help for the sundry works. It is advisable to store groceries and other requirements for home beforehand as the person may not be able to carry out routine chores for a few weeks.
Post Treatment: Walking is one of the best exercises suggested after a lumbar laminectomy. The best thing about walking after back surgery is that it is an upright exercise.
Abram, who was diagnosed with chronic lumbar spinal stenosis was suggested hospitalization and medication in Dubai. The back pain was worsening, and the doctor’s recommended him to undergo Laminectomy. Abram was working for a private firm. With very little savings and enormous responsibilities to be taken care of, he decided to undergo treatment in a relatively cheaper facility back in Thailand. His friend’s got in touch with a hospital in Thailand, and his medical history was shared with the orthopedic surgeon. The doctor suggested transporting the patient at their facility using medical Air Ambulance facility, using the medical stretcher and on-board attending medical escort as the patient was suffering from severe pain.
There are many Air Ambulance services available from Dubai to Thailand. Hi-Flying Air Ambulances are a 24x7x365 service provider those who operate vigilantly from Dubai to other Asian countries.
It is one of the most experienced service providers in this sector. Headquartered in the US, it has its regional offices in India and UAE. The company has a niche in this sector.
The company is about 2 decades old.
Best Features of Hi-Flying:
Documentation for flying, immigration handled by their staff.
Pre-medical check, before evacuation is handled by the medical team very efficiently.
There may be the case, where the patient may not be insured; in such cases, their expert handles the necessary documentation with the best medical insurance service providers suitable to the condition of the patient. Also, the person may be insured, but treatment in a foreign land may require additional top-up procedures which the team can arrange for the person.
Assists those who can fly commercially but need professional assistance (medical escort)
Provides support to those, who are in Dubai for some travel purpose and due to some emergency or non-emergency medical situation needs to be repatriated.
They help stretcher-bound patients who want to travel on an international flight (stretcher flights).
They have a team of dedicated Medical Escorts who have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the medical field and have served in to cater to emergency patients. The staff undergoes regular training and accreditation.
The Medical Director himself supervises the entire process of transportation.
Also, as discussed above, the staff is well trained, the Air Ambulance is well equipped with the best and modern equipment’s required for air transporting of a patient like Oxygen cylinder, Ventilator, emergency medical kits, commercial medical stretcher.
The tie-up list with commercial airlines for transfers of patients is enormous.
Road and Rail Ambulance Services are available.
Most importantly, they provide services which are economically viable for the patient. They offer packages based on the situation and the basis of particular case study.
Hi Flying allows at least one relative of the patient to fly absolutely free with no additional charges incurred.
Their expert team efficiently does the paperwork involved in transportation with no burden on the family members, who can then completely focus on the well-being and up-keep of the patient.
A Team of Doctor and Nurse comprising of highly qualified nurses and a doctor were assigned for the expatriation procedure. All the medicines prescribed by the doctor in Dubai; saline for the inflammation and pain treatment was taken care of. The patient was transported by ground ambulance to the International Airport in Dubai and then the medical clearance at the airport was carried out in assistance with their expert team. The complete paperwork was done and the patient was evacuated in an Air Ambulance to Thailand.
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