Medical Tourism: Crossing Borders to Access Health Care
Traveling abroad for one's health has a long history for the upper social classes who sought spas, mineral baths, innovative therapies, and the fair climate of the Mediterranean as destinations to improve their health. The newest trend in the first decade of the twenty-first century has the middle class traveling from developed countries to those with emerging economies to avoid treatment delays, prohibitive costs for life-saving procedures, or simply high costs for elective surgery. Others leave to have access to assisted suicide in countries that have legalized it: Belgium, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. This new era of globalization in health care has arrived without the benefit of international standards, government oversight, or ethical and legal review.
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