Medical tourism is all the rage and the Bahamas wants a piece of the pie.
In his latest column, Bahamas pundit Larry Smith cautions:
“The Ministry of Tourism has identified three special markets that the Bahamas could profitably explore, but remains concerned about regulatory deficiencies and ethical issues. As [Tourism Minister Vincent] Vanderpool-Wallace is quick to point out, great care must be taken to protect the Bahamas’ reputation by not giving medical quackery a free ride.”
But is that even possible, given the lack enforcement of nearly every law in the country and the rampant corruption that exists in every part of the government?
Smith gives numerous examples of other failed medical ventures in The Bahamas that proved dangerous to patients.
Another problem is the lack of regulation and legislation.
Smith quotes a lawyer who worked on a medical malpractice claim here in the Bahamas who told him that, “the regulatory requirements that enhance patient safety abroad either do not exist here, or are not enforced.”
“It would be wise to correct this as much as we can before the unfortunate glare of the international spotlight shines on the Bahamas, as a result of a systems failure injuring or causing the death of a medical tourist,” Smith quotes the lawyer as saying.
And, the pundit notes, even the limited regulatory system we do have lacks transparency.
“The effect of such a poor regulatory regime, critics say, is that the overall physical and financial impact of a medical misadventure, falls almost entirely on patients and their families. Professional insurance fees are passed on to customers, and it is very difficult and costly to pursue any claim in the courts. Most fair-minded people would say there is something terribly wrong with that picture.”