It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen! People who suffer a medical injury when abroad or traveling find themselves in a unique set of circumstances.
And it’s a set of circumstances that is rather tricky to navigate. Injuries at home are scary enough, and that’s with your doctor just round the corner. Imagine suffering one when abroad, having to compete with language barriers and strange locations? An injury means that you’ll require medical care, and that’s what can lead to malpractice and negligence.
However, just because you’re thousands of miles from home, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If you take the time to do a bit of research, you’ll find that it’s not impossible to overcome.
Step 1: Consult the country’s main medical governing body
Most countries have governing bodies in place which oversee the standards to which doctors must adhere. Failure to follow these rules and regulations counts as medical malpractice, and is open to a claim.
It’s important to note that your injury must have been sustained due to a professional neglecting the standards of their own country. Not yours. For example, if you’re from the UK and you visit Thailand, you can’t claim malpractice if the doctor fails to adhere to UK policy. It must be a failure to follow Thai policy.
So, check with the country’s governing body and see whether your injury was in fact due to negligence. This will allow you to move forward further, and seek further aid.
Step 2: Contact a lawyer with experience in medical law
In order to obtain further treatment, you’ll need to know you’re protected. Depending on the severity of your medical injuries, you’ll need to find a lawyer who can help you make an urgent claim.
You can contact a lawyer from anywhere in the world – foreign soil or home soil. It’s all just a case of seeking advice on what steps to take next. If your injury is minor, is there any point pressing things further? If it’s severe, where do I get further treatment?
In addition, you may be able to secure small compensation benefits, like a free flight home. Your lawyer will inform you whether you’re likely to succeed against a foreign medical body or doctor. They’ll also decide the best choice of jurisdiction.
Step 3: Gather the details of your treatment – was it legal?
Perhaps you even went abroad with the sole intent of having surgery, and that’s where your injury came from.
For example, if you were visiting another country for a face lift, you’ll need to provide all these details to the relevant authorities. This is because some practices applied by these surgeries are often not legal, and could work in your favor.
This is called medical tourism, and it’s becoming more and more popular. Tourists will travel abroad for surgery, to doctors that charge them low prices but use procedures that are not approved.
If this happens to you, the fact that the doctor used an illegal procedure will work in your favor. Gather the details of the surgery, the doctor’s name, and anything else you feel is relevant. Present these to your lawyer and the authorities back home and you’re all but guaranteed a case.