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Cartagena! a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism

Cartagena! a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism

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Cartagena! a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism

144 pagine
1 ora
Aug 26, 2011


What do you really know about your doctor? Is he just a nice genial person, a fellow golfer or crackjack surgeon? What really goes on behind the closed doors of the operating room? These are questions that thousands of people cannot answer, and most do not even know what questions to ask. As an insider in the world of surgery, I not only answer these questions, but I tell you more about the doctors of Cartagena, Colombia then you know about your long-term doctor down the street. These answers are more important than ever, now that our failing medical system is at a point of eminent collapse. Surgical specialties are particularly hard hit, as older surgeons retire with few new physicians choosing to take on the overwhelming responsibilities in a increasingly litigious society for less and less compensation. Surgical tourism is not the answer for everyone but it's certainly part of the equation and it might be a solution for you. For about 20% of the cost of treatment in the United States, with no waiting, patients can receive state of the art, boutique surgical care in new and modern facilities. Hidden Gem: A guide to surgical tourism in Cartagena, Colombia answers all of these questions and more, while giving concrete, and detailed information to help plan your surgical trip. The handy travel sized book is now available in e-formats. This book also provides general health and safety tips for prospective patients to prevent medical complications while travelling. Unfortunately, many Americans are unsophisticated when it comes to being savvy health care consumers. We pay far too much for far too little, with unrealistic expectations and mediocre outcomes. This book explains how to become a better consumer of health care services, and how to better communicate with health care providers.

Aug 26, 2011

Informazioni sull'autore

My name is K. Eckland, and I am an acute care nurse practitioner in cardiothoracic surgery. After working with patients from all backgrounds and watching the American health care system continue to deteriorate and fail many of my neediest patients – I became interested in surgical tourism. Several of my patients asked me about medical tourism, and were relying heavily on industry supported websites to find surgeons and medical providers. This made me exceedingly nervous about their health and well-being since none of these websites were independently reviewed, operated or unbiased, and there is very little regulation of medical tourism companies. It sounded like a recipe for disaster to me - but I also understood why my patients were interested. As a healthcare provider, my job is to give unbiased and honest information to my patients - even if it means they might chose to go to other providers and make decisions that other doctors and nurses may not like. I just needed a way to find out who the excellent providers were, (and who wasn't so great) so that my patients would have the necessary information to make informed decisions. *(If you have any questions about me – please visit my website, Bogota I believe in transparency, and have posted my credentials on the site.) So, I began traveling, interviewing and observing surgeries as a way to try and make sure that my patients would have legitimate and unbiased information about surgical tourism options. I use internationally accepted criteria and scientific tools to evaluate providers, procedures and facilities. I invested my own money (my retirement) into this project, and accept no outside funding from doctors, hospitals, companies so that readers could be assured of my impartiality. I don’t work for the doctors, I work for my readers. I feel that as a nurse, my job is to advocate for my patients – and while I wish everyone could stay close to home for their medical needs, that’s just not the reality for many people. Instead – I want to help people find safe options. I limit myself to surgical tourism and surgeons for a couple of reasons – the main reason being that I have extensive surgical experience and know the international standards and protocols used for surgery and surgical patients. I also believe that its not always practical to encourage people to seek medical tourism for chronic diseases/ conditions that require frequent follow-ups. I never set out to become the 'great American writer' but Bogota! a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism is my third book in the medical tourism/ medical genre. For this book, I spent almost six months in Bogota, Colombia talking, interviewing, investigating as many people as possible. It’s hard work - a lot of 16 hour days for a product I really believe in - and most people don’t think they need. Not everyone should buy my book – but if you or a loved one is considering traveling for surgery, please buy my book before choosing a provider off the Internet. I strive to create a high quality product but it's sometimes difficult with all the changes needed for different formats. If you aren't pleased with your e-book, let me know, for future revisions.

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Anteprima del libro

Cartagena! a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism - K. Eckland

Hidden Gem: A Guide to Surgical Tourism

in Cartagena, Colombia

K. Eckland, ACNP, MSN, RN

With Dr. Albert Klein, PharmD

K. Eckland 2010

Copyright K. Eckland 2011

Published at Smashwords

Please respect our work.

Footnote conversion for e-reading devices: [footnotes contained within parentheses]

Authorization is specifically granted for printing of surgical checklists and Appendix Fill in sheet. All other portions require additional written authorization from copyright holders.

Additional Titles

Bogota! (hidden gem series)

The Thoracic Surgeons


Without the unwavering support of my research team this project would not have been possible. The team, consisting of my darling husband, and copy editor, Peter, my mother and on-site photographer, Susan Eckland, and my father, translator and research assistant, John Eckland helped me translate ideas into reality.

I have sincere appreciation to Dr. Albert Klein for his willingness to join me on this endeavor, without hesitating.

To Debbie, from Danville, Virginia, who initiated the idea for this project during our previous discussions on dental tourism.

Special thanks to all the wonderful people in Cartagena who gave me intimate access to their patients, practices and operating rooms. This experience has done more than provide the foundations of this book, it has changed my life, for the better, and for that I am eternally grateful

Lastly, thanks to Roberto, the best taxi driver in all of Cartagena.

Table of Contents




Travel Basics

Why Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism versus Surgical Tourism

Brief Introduction to Cartagena, Colombia

Hospital Facilities


PostSurgery Information/ Emergencies

Selected Providers in Surgical Specialties

Special Focus: Bariatric Surgery

Special Focus:Cardiothoracic Surgery

References & Resources for Additional Info


While all of the information provided in this book has been thoroughly researched, this book is not a substitute for medical care, or the services of a physician nor is it a recommendation or guarantee of services provided by the individuals listed within. This book should be used to augment other sources of medical and travel information, and ultimately, should be used in conjunction with the judgment of both the consumer and their practicing medical providers.

Health care conditions and facilities can change without warning due to natural disasters, epidemic disease, war or political disturbances. Please be aware of the geopolitical situation of the areas you are planning to visit.


Modern surgery has advanced greatly in the last century, and it has changed the way we live our lives. Coming from a background in cardiothoracic surgery, where the last fifty years have heralded some of the greatest changes to the human condition, I have been able to see the amazing impact of surgery across the human lifespan. From babies, once destined to die at birth with congenital defects to octogenarians undergoing valve replacement, to cardiac transplantation; heart surgery has changed the collective human experience.

Conditions that were once thought of as an inevitable part of the aging process and eventual infirmity such as osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease are now routinely treated with joint replacement. Other diseases, once life-threatening such as appendicitis or solid tissue tumors are treated with routine, almost mundane frequency. Even chronic conditions such as morbid obesity, organ failure and diabetes can now be treated very successfully with surgery, with results untouched by even the most revolutionary medicines.

These surgical procedures and the science behind them have changed the very foundation of our concepts of health and illness, thus changing our expectations. However during this time, the American healthcare system has failed to recognize, adapt and accommodate these changes. The system has become an overburdened, wasteful and unnecessarily complex entity that has lost its original vision. At a time, when more and more Americans are living longer, more productive lives, a single illness can financially devastate and destroy an entire family.

Surgical tourism has become a viable option for sophisticated consumers, and for some, the only option available. With the globalization of health care, education and surgical technology, surgeons in Colombia, India, Argentina, and other areas around the globe are able to perform the same intricate procedures, and surgical techniques as even the finest institutions in America.

Dr. Peter K. Smith, MD

Division Chief

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Duke University

Durham, NC

May 2010

Travel Basics

Welcome to a new age. The world is becoming a smaller place, and healthcare services are now offered as part of a global marketplace. Medical tourism has changed since the days of the Laetrile clinics. It’s now possible to receive state of the art treatment, and care comparable or superior to North American standards at a fraction of the cost, with minimal waiting.

However, the medical tourism marketplace can be overwhelming, and finding objective information can be difficult, particularly for individuals seeking surgical treatment. In a recent poll; over 70% of medical tourists chose their destination from the internet [Medical Tourism Association (MTA) Survey, 2009]. If you’ve ever bought clothes, or any other personal items through on-line shopping, then you know that items are not always as described, and what you see is not always what you end up with. Third party, objective informational sources are difficult, if not impossible to find. Information provided in this book was obtained through interviews and first hand observation. The authors have no personal or financial interests in any of the clinics or services discussed within this book.

Before you go:

1. Research the procedure including risks, complications and post-operative recovery time. Cartagena advertises as a destination for bariatric surgery, which is a more complex medical procedure, carrying a higher risk of complications including serious infection, blood clots, bleeding and death. [In comparison with most elective cosmetic procedures, orthopedic and dental procedures]. Cardiac surgery, organ transplantation and some complex cancer operations carry a higher risk profile than traditional gastric bypass procedures. Lap-band and other new bariatric procedures have a lesser risk but may not be appropriate for all individuals ]. Make sure you are well informed about the desired procedure, no matter where you plan to have it done.

There are several reputable medical websites including,

2. Bring a list of questions to ask your doctor. Be frank and truthful about your medical history and habits. Everything about your medical history is relevant and important. For example, people with a history of radiation have poor wound healing in the irradiated area, even years later. It’s not worth risking your health due to embarrassment, or shyness. Remember, in most cases, you can also email your surgeon ahead of time. You should receive prompt replies within 48 hours of your inquiry for non-emergent issues.

3. Plan to spend at least two weeks at your medical tourism destination.

4. Choose your travel companion carefully. Do not travel alone, or bring small children. Your travel companion needs to be someone who is capable of assisting you after surgery. This person should also be someone that you trust to make decisions for you while you are incapacitated (during and after surgery). While several medical companies offer nursing services as part of the package, in general these nursing services are limited to daily visits or phone calls to your hotel room after you are discharged from the medical

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