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Responsibilities of the Medical Traveler

Just as medical travelers have a reasonable right to expect certain terms and conditions from providers and other medical travel partners, they also, for the sake of their good medical outcomes, have certain responsibilities and obligations when electing to receive medical care and treatment outside their own country.

Doctors and patient care managers rely on medical travelers to be forthcoming, truthful, mindful and compliant. When they are not is when many of the problems begin.

As a medical traveler, you have these responsibilities.

  1. To work with your health care provider and agent or patient care manager to develop and carry out agreed upon treatment plans and ongoing therapies.

  2. To ask questions if you do not understand information, medical terms, the specifics of your treatment, or what is expected of you; and prepare written questions and comments for your doctor.

  3. To consult with your doctor before self-medicating or seeking alternative therapies including herbal medicines that might interfere with your ongoing treatment.

  4. To disclose relevant information to your doctors, nurses and care manager, before, during and after your treatment, including unexpected changes in your condition, new symptoms, or increased pain.

  5. To make an effort to understand and accept the cultural differences of the health workers caring for you, and between you and patients from other countries; show respect and courtesy to those you meet on your medical journey; and clearly communicate your wants and needs.

  6. To take all possible precautions against spreading disease or infection, including frequently washing hands and strictly following doctor’s orders.

  7. To keep your appointments. If you are unable to do so for any reason, notify your health care provider or representative immediately.

  8. To make sure you know all the costs involved in your care and treatment, properly arrange to make your payments and otherwise to meet your financial obligations.

  9. To be honest, accurate and thorough when providing personal information, and update this information regularly. If you have received a discount or payment (financial or in kind) for “telling your story”, please say so.

  10. To be prepared and knowledgeable as best you can about your medical condition and needs; seek expert advice from your general practitioner and/or medical travel planner; and keep your hometown doctor advised of your plans.

  11. To seek out reliable sources of information; and be particularly cautious of internet websites and chat rooms that may distort, positively or negatively, information about a hospital, doctor, medical travel agent, or patient.

  12. To understand that as a medical traveler who is also an international patient, you are a partner in your medical care and assume more responsibility than at home. If you choose to discontinue treatment, transfer your care and records to another physician or facility or otherwise act against doctor advice, you may not hold the doctor, hospital or agent responsible for any consequences of your decision.

Related articles

Medical Traveler’s Bill of Rights

Venice Declaration on Medical Tourism