When I was approach by my client five years ago and asked to address the legal liability involved in sending American patients overseas for healthcare, my instant reaction was to ask why in the world the employer would send their employees overseas when we have a perfectly good heathcare system right here. I mean, the United States has the best technology, the best medical schools and state of the art healthcare that draws patients from foreign countries to our hospitals for care and for employment experience. Having been fully insured my entire life with relatively easy access to health services, I was naively unaware of the almost 50 million uninsured and millions of underinsured Americans. I was shocked to find out how inaccessible our system has become. Since there is so much to be learned about the current “supply” of American patients that need care, I felt it was important to cover the United States this month in our country focus. I think you will find the information contained in these pages extremely helpful.
In this issue we are addressing the controversial topic of Stem Cell Treatment & Medical Tourism.
If you have read anything about Stem Cell Treatment, you will have read something about it being controversial. Not approved in the US for treating patients, some people are traveling thousands of miles for a chance at getting their lives back. So what is it that makes this so controversial? Lack of information would be the most immediate culprit. It is my understanding that the first stem cell research was being done with embryos. Well we all know what kind of stir this would cause in the US. Then we moved on to the less controversial placenta stem cell treatment. Nowadays, there are reports of extremely successful stem cell treatment being performed with adult stem cells called autologous stem cell treatment. The stems cells are typically harvested from a person’s hip bone and injected into the spinal fluid causing in many cases restoring the ability to walk, reversing liver cirrhosis and helping diabetes patients. So when I said lack of information was the culprit, I was referring to both the lack of information that people have of the new alternatives to embryonic stem cell research as well as the lack of information confirm the success rate of this type of treatment. Adult Stem Cell Researchers say embryonic stem cell treatment doesn’t work, and some researchers and scientists say no kind f stem cell treatment works. I suppose, like anything else, time will tell.
What we can all agree on though, is Stem Cell Treatment is controversial and it is going on and growing as a medical treatment. Research and treatment facilities are growing around the world and patients are traveling from non-stem cell countries to stem cell countries for the opportunity to try it out. More interesting are the amazing stories that are emerging. Partially paralyzed people are walking, heart disease patients are running marathons and mute autistic children are speaking.
If we can treat certain conditions through autologous adult stem cell treatment, meaning coming from your own body, isn’t it worth exploring? We should not have to wait for FDA approval to at least look into the possibilities. Do your homework. As with any cutting edge area everyone needs to be aware of identifying the highest quality stem cell treatment facilities and carefully look into who you partner with for care. And if your partner happens to be located in an exotic place where you can take a holiday? So much the better.
(Renee photo and bio as follows: Renée-Marie Stephano is Chief Operating Officer and a Founder of the Medical Tourism Association, Inc., an international non-profit organization that serves international healthcare providers and medical travel facilitators in the global healthcare industry. Renée-Marie is an attorney licensed to practice law in the states of Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has a background in litigation and health law. She is also Editor of the Medical Tourism Magazine, a monthly journal serving the global healthcare industry by free subscription at www.medicaltravelauthority.com. Renée-Marie may be reached at Renee@medicaltravelauthority.com.