I Will Do Surgery Overseas-Thanks to George W

Because of the roadblocks in the United States to stem cell research I have been actively pursuing having a stem cell transplant done overseas. The Christian Science Monitor has pointed out that companies are sending people overseas for procedures because they are cheaper-Thanks to Flexo over a Consummerism Commentary for this heads up!

Going overseas for surgery was not at the top of my wish list but I felt I had to pursue it for my own peace of mind. My first attempt was to have the procedure done in Lisbon, Portugal. I went through a very nice lady at the University of Michigan Medical school-and she was very helpful in facilitating my request to see if I’d be a viable candidate. As it turned out-they said I would not be a good candidate…So the next option was Beijing, China!

I’ve never been to China but the thought of going half way around the world to have someone do surgery on my spinal column scared the bejesus out of me. China does have good hospitals for foreigners because they make serious money from foreigners coming for surgery. The problem was I was dealing directly with the hospital in China and a facilitator who was not extremely fluent in English. As it turned out they requested not one but two MRI’s-I’m totally claustrophobic and this was not fun!! After sending the second MRI and sending repeated follow-up emails-I never got any more correspondence! I guess that means I’m not a good candidate.

Interestingly enough on a flight last year from Denver to San Francisco I was speaking with a flight attendant who was catching a flight out of San Francisco to Beijing. She mentioned that on her flights she had run into 5 Americans who were headed to Beijing for this very procedure. I asked her the big question…Had any of these people ever returned? The problem with China is they are very guarded with medical information and have had several deaths from this surgical procedure. They just don’t like to talk about them!

It’s interesting to see how health care has become a global interest.Some go for cost cutting measures and others go because of the politics of health care!

Steve Mertz
Going Overseas? Do Your Homework!

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5 Responses to “I Will Do Surgery Overseas-Thanks to George W”

  1. GolbGuru says:

    You might want to check out options in India. There was a report about that in TIME some months ago dealing with the concept of “Medical Tourism”. If I find a copy, I will forward it to you.

  2. Steve Mertz says:

    Thanks for the information-I did not see India come up when I was searching for stem cell transplants but they do a heck of a lot of other procedures. By the way, not all overseas sugeries are cheap-China wants about $30,000 a pop!

  3. RisingSunofNihon says:

    Wow, what a question! Though I’m not in your situation, I have to say that I’d be very wary about traveling to places like China or India for complex surgical procedures. Heck, I’ve lived in Japan for years and don’t trust the doctors or hospitals here very much either!!

    But — best wishes to you no matter what you decide to do!

  4. Steve Mertz says:

    Thanks for your kind thoughts! I really am the biggest chicken in the world when it comes to surgery. But, if I had a chance to be a pioneer in stem cell surgery-I’d probably do it-screaming all the way 🙂

  5. StemLife says:

    Hi Steve,

    Just came across your interesting and candid entry. I am delighted to know that you are pro-actively looking into stem cell therapy as a potential treatment option. In Malaysia where StemLife is based, we have been providing stem cell support for patients with cancer, diabetic foot ulcers and heart failure. The results have been very positive and we are confident that stem cells should be used in complement with conventional medication/surgery in these cases.

    We haven’t explored the realm of spinal cord regeneration or neurological damage yet although it is moving up our list of priorities.

    If you know anyone who would like to seek options in the areas I’ve mentioned, please do encourage them to write or call us. Malaysia is a friendly country with a favorable exchange rate to the USD, good doctors (many who trained in the US), good private healthcare facilities and very importantly, everyone speaks English.

    I also maintain a blog where you’ll be able to find some of my thoughts and opinions on non-controversial sources of stem cells for therapy.

    Yours sincerely,

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