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Worst Medical Tourism Disasters

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© Klaus Tiedge/Corbis

Traveling overseas for medical procedures is a growing industry—but is the cost savings worth the risk?

Skin Tucks in CostaRica

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The Botch Job: Thirtysomething New Yorker Stacey Cavaliere had lost 100 pounds and sought out a budget physician in Costa Rica to tuck and tone the excess skin. According to the New York Daily News, during the surgery she endured massive blood loss, and an emergency secondary operation was needed to stop internal bleeding. The doctor, who diagnosed her with anemia but operated anyway, told her she should return in a few months for reconstructive surgery. After returning home, Cavaliere was rushed to the emergency room; her abdomen had a raging infection and needed to be cleaned out. A skin graft from her thigh to her stomach was needed in order to close a deep wound. Her condition took eight additional surgeries to fix.

The Real Deal: Beware of the providers who are most visible on the Internet. They are not necessarily the most reputable and often lack credentials. Many dentists are schooled in America, and most are concentrated in San José. Consult the website of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica for recommended dentists.

Worst Medical Tourism Disasters

Skin Tucks in CostaRica

The Botch Job: Thirtysomething New Yorker Stacey Cavaliere had lost 100 pounds and sought out a budget physician in Costa Rica to tuck and tone the excess skin. According to the New York Daily News, during the surgery she endured massive blood loss, and an emergency secondary operation was needed to stop internal bleeding. The doctor, who diagnosed her with anemia but operated anyway, told her she should return in a few months for reconstructive surgery. After returning home, Cavaliere was rushed to the emergency room; her abdomen had a raging infection and needed to be cleaned out. A skin graft from her thigh to her stomach was needed in order to close a deep wound. Her condition took eight additional surgeries to fix.

The Real Deal: Beware of the providers who are most visible on the Internet. They are not necessarily the most reputable and often lack credentials. Many dentists are schooled in America, and most are concentrated in San José. Consult the website of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica for recommended dentists.

© Klaus Tiedge/Corbis
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