Be aware of the risks of overseas medical procedures
Dr Stephanie Bown, of the Medical Protection Society, voiced concerns today about the European Commission directive adopted earlier this year, which will allow residents to access healthcare treatments anywhere in the EU.
In an article for BBC online, Dr Bown warns that while the directive brings opportunities, citizens should be wary of the potential risks that they could face, if they opt for medical treatment in other countries. Dr Bown lists several pitfalls that could affect 'healthcare tourists', including varying standards, cultures and quality of care across the different EU countries.
As Dr Bown states in her article, one of the key areas for concern for anyone considering having a medical procedure carried out abroad is what course of action could be taken should something go wrong.
Of course, nobody likes to plan for the worst when having treatment, but for problems arising from medical negligence on the part of the NHS, there is a system in place that allows solicitors, such as the clinical negligence team at JMW, to fight for the compensation patients deserve.
However, medical negligence claims usually need to be dealt with under the jurisdiction of the country where the procedure was carried out, so for overseas treatment, if problems begin to occur once the patient returns home, difficulties could arise.
At JMW, we know that bringing a medical negligence claim can be a traumatic experience for patients, who have often been left with no other option if they are to continue their lives with any sense of normality. So adding the complexity of dealing with language barriers, foreign systems and practical implications arising from dealing with an overseas jurisdiction, could cause additional stress.
That's why it is vital that anyone considering having medical treatment in a foreign country checks carefully that the medical professional and the hospital or clinic where they are treated holds the necessary insurance. That way if they should find themselves in the position where they are dealing with the consequences of a medical procedure gone wrong, they can bring a claim to compensate for the damages they have suffered.