The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

September 11, 2008 Number 195

This issue:

Medical Tourism

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Action to take

If you have large upcoming medical expenses, especially if they are out-of-pocket expenses, consider the option of medical tourism.


Imagine a limo picks you up and whisks you to a top hospital with top physicians. You stay in a beautiful suite with superb food and courteous attentive staff. The doctor spends time with you explaining the procedure and gives you his phone number and cell phone number. Sounds like treatment only the super rich get? Not necessarily. Dozens of countries are offering top medical treatments with top notch doctors and plush amenities for a fraction of what it costs in the US.

Americans are just discovering that they can get major dental work, cosmetic surgery, hip replacements and other surgeries and treatments while taking a vacation in countries like Thailand, Singapore, Panama, India, and Malaysia.  And the treatment and vacation together often costs less than the treatment alone in the US. For example, hip or knee replacement typically costs about $25,000 in the US and abroad can cost as little as $4,500 in top, accredited facilities.

Every year millions of people in other countries take medical tourism trips and vacations. Dr. Paul Gahlinger predicts that medical tourism will be common in the US in five years and revolutionize medical care in the US.

The problem is finding the reputable services and avoiding facilities and doctors that are mediocre or worse. The Internet is full of offers and it is a buyer beware source of information. So how do you identify the top, highly reputable facilities with excellent doctors?

Four suggestions:

  1. Listen to my in depth interview with Dr. Gahlinger on Ageless Lifestyles Radio. It is free. You can stream it on the Internet or download the MP3.
  2. Study Dr. Gahlinger’s brand new book, The Medical Tourism Travel Guide.
  3. Many of the best facilities have Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. It is the international equivalent of JCAHO hospital accreditation in the US.
  4. The Medical Tourism Association’s website, which provides information on and sets standards for medical tourism facilities. Their monthly magazine can be downloaded for free.


Medical tourism hospitals owe their fortunes almost directly to the failure of the medical system in the tourist's country. The American medical system is failing in its duty to provide rapid, high-quality care at a reasonable cost. It is a tragedy. But sometimes, you need competition to foster change. The US medical system has been stagnant for a long time, locked to obsolete systems....Competition from overseas will force change here for the better.

~Paul Gahlinger, MD, Ph.D., The Medical Tourism Guide, p. 34.


My dad's in the hospital and he is critical. He's okay. He just complains about the room, he can't stand the nurses, he hates the food....

~Reno Goodale

Just before his gallbladder surgery, the patient asked his doctor, “Do you know how long the incision will be?”“I can’t really say yet,” said the doctor. “My wife has a four inch scar and my sister has a five inch scar. Can you make it at least six inches so I don’t have to hear their drivel and blab?” asked the patient.

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