Tijuana, B.C.- Thursday, July 18th, 2013- By Gilberto LAVENANT
Baja California, and specially Tijuana, given the closeness with California, one of the communities with larger economic potential in the world, is an attraction point of thousands of people. Daily arrive to this border, for pleasure or even in search of several services, amongst them, the medical type. A large sum of people.
Definitely, the enormous economic gap between regions, the Mexican and the American, and the high costs of medical services in US territory, generates, with magnificent outcome, a touristic stream identified already as medical tourism.
Of course, it’s not only the difference in costs, also, without doubt, the quality of most professionals in medicine south of the border Mexico-US. It’s said that alone in 2012, Tijuana received a billion dollars, income from medical tourism.
Felipe Pavlovich, President of Medical Cluster, a great promoter of this activity, recently declared that the medical element is the most important tourism given that a patient always comes in company and several members of his family. Therefore the importance and economical income that it generates.
Baja California stands out at a national level, in terms of medical tourism, to the point that on the 19th of the present month, in Tijuana, a national presentation on this subject will be held. They will demonstrate the experience achieved in this matter, and it will be explained to interested groups, of other states, on how to attract larger numbers of national and international tourists, that will generate an important economic income and the creation of new jobs.
However, as always, something that spoils or affects enormously this activity, are medical quacks, those individuals that are not what they say they are, nor they guarantee a good medical service, or do not respond seriously when inquired on some “error”. They simply dismiss the matter with crude answers such as “it can happen to anyone” or “do whatever you want”.
Precisely, this week, Dr. Adrian Manjarrez, President of the Plastic, Esthetic and Reconstructive Surgery Mexican Board, warned an increase detected on medical quacks that practice plastic surgery, and made a call out to the community, not to be deceived. To go only to certified doctors.
In regards, he explained that article 81 of the General Health Code, indicates that all surgeon must have help or aid of several specialties or different boards and that the objective of this, as the one he presides, is the elaboration, enforcement and evaluation on specialists exams, to determine their training, and thus provide clients with the security of being attended by a qualified doctor.
In this manner, specialized doctors must update their certification every five years. Mexico counts with seventeen hundred certified doctors and there’s 13 teaching centers in specialties, three training centers in Guadalajara, two more in Monterrey and the rest in Mexico City.
It’s an interesting subject and the recommendation seems simple. When a specialized medical service is required, such as in the field of plastic, esthetic or reconstructive surgery, its sufficient to verify the doctors certification and avoid being treated by a quack doctor.
But a question arises: The certification acknowledges training, but the ethic, professionalism, honesty, how is it guaranteed or who guarantees it?
It’s necessary to question this, because in past days it was made of my knowledge, a criminal charge, filed on June 10th, of this year, registered under file number 1268/13/207/AP, before the Public Ministry of Common Law in Playas de Rosarito, for alleged medical and technical malpractice.
The defendant of such criminal charges is Dr. Eduardo Gongora Alejandre and the petitioner is the American businessmen Marco Mc Guire Jr. Estrella, co-founder and director of Bail Hotline Bonds, a bails corporation in Riverside, California.
It’s said that the businessmen, as part of the medical tourism, came to this border in looks of medical services for a plastic surgery. He basically wanted to reduce the abdomen area.
On October 3rd of 2012, he was submitted to a surgical intervention to achieve his purpose, in the clinic property of the defendant, named Genesis Plastic Surgery Center – to say the least- located at Boulevard Benito Juarez #355, Colonia Hacienda Floresta del Mar, in Playas de Rosarito.
The point is that after surgery, the patient went thru a physical deterioration; he noticed a lack of mobility on his extremities. The health conditions in which he was left, made it necessary to be attended in another medical center, meanwhile defendant denied to provide with documents in regards to the medical intervention and poor conditions post-op.
Long story short, in regards to medical quacks and certified doctors, defendant Dr. Eduardo Gongora Alejandre, is at post as President of Plastic, Esthetic and Reconstructive Surgery Institute of Baja California. To understand the explanation over this matter, a judicial requirement was necessary and he alleged that these “situations” are probable to occur, but that he does not have any responsibility in the matter. The criminal charges are barely starting. The medical certification, does not guarantee seriousness or ethics.