Should We Really Be Doing This? Medical Treatments Abroad

Medicine, no matter where it is practiced, is full of ethical issues. Each country, each religion, each person has their own moral code to live by, their own conscious to deal with. Each country has its own law, that are often very different than the next’s. In fact, many Americans travel to other countries for medical tourism to escape the rules that they are bound by in the home. Some of the key areas where the U.S. differs from other countries are: Sex Change Operations Also called sex reassignment surgery or transgender surgery, this is often a misunderstood situation for a patient to be in. In fact, in the United States a patient is required to undergo extensive psychological evaluation before being allowed to continue, which is odd because they do not do that for any other surgery. Foreign countries do not have this requirement and, in fact, Thailand is widely recognized for doing the best work in this field. Fertility Procedures Octomom aside, many couples deal with hurdles in the United States when it comes to fertility procedures and ethics. Desperate couples battling infertility or even advanced age can travel overseas to have procedures performed that they could not otherwise have done in the U.S. Many medications are also available in foreign countries that have not yet been approved by the F.D.A. yet are extremely helpful to many women. Stem Cell Research Stem cell research is the poster child for ethical issues in modern medicine. In fact, each election year once again brings this issue to the forefront of the collective American mind, forcing everyone to take sides. On the contrary, with medical tourism, Alzheimer’s patients and their families can travel to Singapore, a hub for stem cell research, in order to try a new procedure in hopes of getting their loved one back to normal. Cancer Treatment 50 years ago, a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence. Research and new experimental drugs have given way to hope and the realization that a cure may be in the future. Until that time, however, Americans have to travel to foreign countries in order to gain access to some of these more cutting edge yet not approved medicines and treatments. Families and patients are willing to take risks in an attempt to fight the disease even if the Food & Drug Administration isn’t. Aids Medications Much like cancer medications and treatments, the future of AIDS research depends on patients willing to try new ways to solve the puzzle of AIDS and HIV, whether in the United States or not. Many of the above ethical issues are really only issues in the United States. Many foreign countries do not understand why the U.S. government has restrictions in place against this type of medicine when the benefits so obviously outweigh the risks.


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