Medical tourism needs a thorough checkup, critics say

As reported by Christopher Bodeen and Alan Scher Zagier at The Wenatchee World Online, “BEIJING — They’re paralyzed from diving accidents and car crashes, disabled by Parkinson’s, or blind. With few options available at home in America, they search the Internet for experimental treatments — and often land on Web sites promoting stem cell treatments in China.They mortgage their houses and their hometowns hold fundraisers as they scrape together the tens of thousands of dollars needed for travel and the hope for a miracle cure.Some of these medical tourists claim some success when they return home: Jim Savage, a Houston man with paralysis from a spinal-cord injury, says he can move his right arm. Penny Thomas of Hawaii says her Parkinson’s tremors are mostly gone. The parents of 6-year-old Rylea Barlett of Missouri, born with an optical defect, say she can see.But documentation is mostly lacking, and Western doctors warn that patients are serving as guinea pigs in countries that aren’t doing the rigorous lab and human tests that are needed to prove a treatment is safe and effective” Read more>>

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