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What does “low risk of liability” for doctors mean for medical patients?
Dear Barbados Free Press,
I saw in the news the other day that the Barbados government is partnering with an American company to build new medical tourism facilities on the site of the St. Joseph Hospital. The news story and the press release sound like this could be an opportunity for Barbados but only if enough investors and medical professionals come on board.
The American World Clinics website is straightforward saying that Barbados is the company’s first project, and lists many reasons why Barbados would be a good place for medical professionals and to build a medical tourism industry. One of the listed reasons puzzles me though…
The American World Clinics press release and the website say that Barbados is a good place for medical professionals because “Barbados is friendly for medical practice and features low risk of liability…”
What does this “low risk of liability” mean, exactly?
We know it takes ten and fifteen years for civil lawsuits to be heard in our court system. What about medical malpractice lawsuits? Would a medical malpractice lawsuit take ten or fifteen years to resolve in the Barbados courts? If the Barbados government is a partner with American World Clinics, can a patient rely upon the Barbados government and the courts in a dispute?
The question that really needs answering is “If Barbados features ‘low risk of liability’ for physicians, does that mean it features a higher risk for international medical tourism patients?”
Also I would like to know about the medical certification procedures in Barbados and what body will oversee the clinics to ensure that compliance with medical standards is acceptable? What are the medical standards in Barbados?
(name withheld by BFP) Continue reading
Canadian medical tourism study team arrives in Barbados
A team of researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) is spending the next week looking at medical tourism in Barbados. Professor Jeremy Snyder and his colleagues will talk with medical professionals, patients and representatives from our government and tourism industry. The researchers will tour some of the private medical facilities in Barbados, but we don’t know if they will be touring any of our public health facilities, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
We hope the SFU team does tour our public health facilities, because we believe that part of their report should be about the impact that private health care facilities and medical tourism have upon public health resources – in a country with no conflict of interest laws.
You see folks, many people on this island are concerned that public resources paid for by the taxpayers, are being diverted from public health care to private health care facilities. There are also rumours that some elected and appointed government officials have interests in private medical facilities – but without Freedom of Information laws it is impossible for Barbadians to know.
We don’t even know the amount of government support being given to the private “medical tourism” facilities, or in what forms it is given and received.
And, of course, without conflict of interest rules and integrity legislation it is no crime by public officials to divert public funds to private facilities in which they, or their close family members, are part owners. We might very well have public support flowing into the pockets of the same government officials who dispense the tax dollars to the private clinics!
So to our friends from Vancouver Canada’s Simon Fraser University, we say “This is normal on de rock. Welcome to Barbados, folks!”
Dr. Ishmael punished for speaking about medical standards, conflicts of interest Continue reading
At what point does normal hospitality become something else?
Chris Breedy promises he'll serve doubles to the Simon Fraser team if they visit Mount Gay. Good Work Chris! Keep 'em happy.
Our story about the Simon Fraser University team coming to Barbados to research medical tourism caused a lively discussion on and off the blog. Folks raised all kinds of questions about the research, how it will be used and about who is funding the research.
On anonymous reader called “One who knows” stated the the Simon Fraser University team already arranged to meet with Barbados government representatives and that the government had plans to fete the Canadians with some tours, dinner at the Hilton and a boat ride with rum punch.
One of the team members, Assistant Professor Jeremy Snyder, wrote back to us (copied at the bottom of this post), answered a few readers’ questions and took a strong stand on his research team’s independence and funding.
We’re impressed! We don’t usually see that kind of transparency and ethics ’bout this rock. Although you can probably buy our own George or Cliverton for a bottle of Mount Gay’s finest, it sounds to us like Professor Snyder and his friends won’t be corrupting their report because somebody bought dinner and took them on a bus tour around the island.
But the discussion does raise an interesting subject: At what point does normal hospitality become something else? Where are the lines? Continue reading
Simon Fraser University research team coming to Barbados
Dear Barbados Free Press,
I am part of a research team from Simon Fraser University, near Vancouver, Canada, that is researching medical tourism – that is, international travel with the intention of receiving medical care. As you may know, international patients, including Canadians, are traveling to Barbados to engage in medical tourism. Many questions are raised by this process, including what steps Barbados has taken to encourage and regulate this industry, how this industry has developed in Barbados, what effects this industry is having in Barbados, how many Canadians are traveling to Barbados and for what procedures, and whether Canadians are investing in the medical tourism industry in Barbados.
To address these questions, my colleagues Valorie Crooks, Rory Johnston, Leigh Turner and I will be visiting Barbados from April 26 – May 2, 2011 to conduct interviews with ‘medical tourism stakeholders’. We would like to invite you to participate in an interview during our time there in order to better understand the scope and effects of medical tourism in Barbados and the role of Canadians in this industry. Continue reading