Waiting for surgery is a frequent problem in Canada where Harriet lives. It is not uncommon for the wait for a knee replacement to be ten months or more. The wait is always annoying, but for Harriet it was an especially serious problem. Harriet provides the care for her disabled husband who is nearly helpless without her. Ironically, Ralph’s knees were in good shape. Ralph has lung disease and needs constant monitoring and continuous care, but it was Harriet who needed the knee replacement.
Facing nearly another year of unbearable pain was a deal breaker for Harriet. She wanted to have surgery at home in Canada, but she couldn’t wait. She needed immediate help. After all, if she weren’t able to take care of herself and Ralph, how would they manage? Her mobility was the key to keeping them both out of the nursing home. When Harriet heard that she might find a solution to her dilemma through medical tourism, she was relieved. However, she found that many of the places she looked into were on the other side of the planet and she didn’t think she could be comfortable with her knee being nearly immobile during such a long flight. Mexico, which was much closer, seemed like a possibility, but she had a lot of questions.
With tens of thousands United States citizens uninsured or under-insured, and thousands of Canadians on waiting lists for surgeries, Mexico is one of the countries that has traditionally filled the gap. And while there are plenty of other competitors for North America’s medical tourists, Mexico offers many advantages for those who are seeking affordable and immediate care. Here are just a few of them:
- Nine JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals representing the highest standards of care available internationally
- A number of hospital chains that are designed around the needs of foreign patients
- Many well-trained, experienced surgical teams, and good nursing care
- Medical costs that are a fraction of those in the United States
- Many English-speaking physicians and hospital staff
- Experimental and non-approved treatments not available in the US or Canada
- Less travel time and lower travel costs than other medical tourist destinations
- Less jet lag from north to south travel than west to east
- A culture of respect for, and valuing of, the elderly
- Availability of high quality, low-cost pharmaceuticals
- A long tradition of serving patients from the United States and Canada
While each person is charged with the responsibility for making the best possible decisions about their own care, and circumstances vary widely, for Harriet, knee replacement surgery in Mexico was able to extend independent living for both her and her husband by providing the care she needed, when she needed it, and at a price that was affordable to her.
Monica Rix Paxson is an expert in the field of Mexico healthcare. She is author of the English Speaker’s Guide to Medical Care in Mexico, and co-author of The English Speaker’s Guide to Doctors & Hospitals in Mexico – eBooks available for immediate download. She resides full-time in Mexico.