More Canadians are choosing medical tourism over the country’s wait times to have surgery.
Wait times for knee and hip replacement surgeries are more than five months for between 19 per cent and 23 per cent of patients. It’s even longer when the time to see a specialist and then a surgeon is added.
Angela Bugera was frustrated with her already long wait to see a specialist. The appointment ended up being only five minutes, and that was only to find out if she was a candidate for hip replacement surgery. She grew even more frustrated when she learned she would have to wait even longer to see a surgeon.
“So I had no idea, after waiting a whole year, how long it would take to actually get the surgery,” said Bugera. “I just felt that was it, I was going to find a solution outside of the system.”
Instead of waiting to get the surgery in Canada, Bugera turned to medical tourism that would allow her to get the surgery almost immediately — as long as she paid for it.
“My handicap was growing weekly and it was noticeable and that’s why I decided to go to a private clinic and get it done and pay for it,” said Bugera.
Bugera decided to have her hip replacement surgery in a new private hospital in the Cayman Islands called Health City Cayman Islands, which has an office set up in Hamilton, Ont. Bugera paid $18,000 for the surgery, which she had in August, before returning home to recuperate and have her follow-up appointments.
A Fraser Institute study found that 52,513 people received treatment outside of the country in 2014, a 26 per cent jump from 2013