Feb 24

I have mostly watched medical tourism from afar for several years, not participating in the so-called industry other than to continue to recommend my own dentists and to advise family, friends, acquaintances and strangers about how and when to access medical and dental care outside of the country.

I do know what I’m talking about — but I choose not to say much, very often. I have concerns about the Americanization of health care overseas, and also about general quality of care as more and more providers seek patients/clients/customers. A decade ago, when I first wrote about medical travel, I think it was actually easier for me to figure out an individualized approach if only because the doctors and dentists who were experienced were directly accessible. Now — that seems to be less prevalent.

I don’t know when or if I will update Beauty from Afar, the book, which is now eight years old, beyond the chapters on this site. It is available from online sellers for just a few dollars, at this point. I make nothing from it, which is fine. But I have moved on to other projects.

Back in the day — it was very exciting for me to be on NPR Talk of the Nation (Medical Tourism, and the Costs of Traveling for Care) and on ABC News (Money Matters, Special Report on Medical Tourism). If you’re interested in the topic — I think my book is still worth reading and those links are worth visiting. I’m leaving this site up — anywhere from 20-100 people a day still seem to want to take a look — but I’ll only be poking my head in episodically.

If you want to know what I’m up to, visit me at jeffschult.com … I am resolved to be there.


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Nov 12

I’m back where I started this week — Prisma Dental in Costa Rica. Good times.

I’ve wondered if I’ll ever get around to posting the rest of Beauty from Afar online — seems I’ve been stuck in Chapter 5 since the invention of tooth paste — but if anything will get me motivated again, it’s visiting with my dentists Josef and Telma, still up to their wrists daily with dental implants and crowns and smile restorations and such. They’re great people and I’d love them even if they weren’t my dentists.

Maybe I’ll add some photos and video later in the week.

If anyone asks, I’ve recently moved to Brookfield, Conn., and am commuting part-time to a job in New York City …


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Aug 16

Medical travel for major dental work, plastic surgery and other medical care continues to be in the news in the United States. On Friday evening, I was interviewed about the subject on the Your Time with Kim syndicated talk radio program.

You can listen to it here:

Kim Iverson — Jeff Schult interview on medical tourism

(Link fixed, Feb. 2015)

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Apr 22

Obviously, I drifted away from posting pages around Christmastime. It happens. Part of the problem was, and is, that Chapter 5 is chock-full of little tables giving sample search engine results for medical tourism terms. And tables are a pain (or relative pain) to move from printed page to web page.

But I’ll figure it out, soon.

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Dec 20

Happy holidays to all. It has been a hectic month and I haven’t had time to make much progress here for a couple of weeks. Surely, I’ll do better in the New Year.

The content of today’s page, I know, worried me back in 2005-2006. Choosing patient support sites for medical tourism and putting them in a book seemed like a bit of a crapshoot. If the sites disappeared, went rogue, even became … less than useful … they’d still be in Beauty from Afar forever. And it would matter, at least to me.

Chapter 5 Page 3  | Patient Support Sites for Medical Tourism

Happily, I chose well. PSJourneys.com and ObesityHelp.com, among other web site forums for patients, have not just survived but thrived.  MedRetreat remains among the leading medical travel companies.

The list would be longer if I was writing it today — but not a lot longer. There have been many attempts to establish online forums for medical travel and most of them have been shortlived.

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Dec 01

The whole notion of what a book IS, is changing. Everyone knows that, right? You don’t have to be a reader of books in digital form, as I have been for more than five years, to appreciate that what we read, how we read, is changing. Beauty from Afar kind of got caught in the early stages of all this change. My publisher did not release it as an e-book in 2006. I’m guessing that if BFA was released in 2009, there would have been an e-book. And I would further guess that if it were a book of its sort five years from now, it might be published only as an e-book.

Not that I think “real,” paper books are going away entirely, anytime soon. But there will be less of them, and more digital books. The fact is, Beauty from Afar is one of those works that would have been better as an e-book, in some future time of e-book ubiquity.

Why? There would have been pictures, lots of pictures. And the Internet addresses — URLs — would have been clickable and that would have changed how I wrote the book, too. I am of the opinion that URLs do not belong in paper books except maybe in foot- or end notes.

Nonetheless, I had no choice but to put them in, for people who might read the book and then want to go to their computers and type them in. I tried to put in as few as I could … I think they are wrong for printed books. They are impermanent.

There are quite a few of them in today’s page. Now, at least, they are clickable.

Chapter 5 Page 2 | Medical Travel and Cosmetic Surgery: Top Resources

Nov 22

You probably found this blog post by searching the Internet, which might mean that you can skim or even skip Chapter 5 of Beauty from Afar, which starts today:

Chapter 5 Page 1 | Research, Research … and More Research

But then again, you might learn something even if you’re a whiz at Internet research. This is probably the most blatant “How-To” self-help-style chapter in the book and if you dislike self-help books generally, which I do, maybe you want to take a look through and see how I managed to make the material palatable … which I’m guessing I did. It starts off OK, anyway.

I really did have the notion that I *might* get enough of a book advance for Beauty from Afar to take a budget tour of the world’s best hospitals. As it turned out, I didn’t get quite that much and the advance payment mostly went for things like food and shelter.

I found the silver lining in having to do most of my research online and by phone, as you’ll see.

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Nov 20

We’re done with procedures and pricing. That’s all I’ve got, for now, anyway.

Chapter 4 Page 7 | What Else is Out There?

I liked finishing the chapter with the comments of the Indian M.D. who was elected president of the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2005. Dr. Naresh Trehan has been a controversial figure at times in India, but I do not believe anyone would dispute his accomplishments. He said he would build MediCity, and he has:

Multi-speciality hospital Medanta commences operations

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Nov 15

I have not exactly breezed through Chapter 4, but it will be wrapped up with the next post. Today, we brush against: hair implants, ear pinning, weight loss surgery and dental procedures. This concludes Beauty from Afar’s summary of cosmetic procedures that people frequently seek outside of their own country.

Chapter 4 Page 6 | Other Cosmetic Procedures

In the conclusion of Chapter 4, I touch briefly on what is generally called complex medicine — no disrespect to cosmetic surgeons intended. This has to do more with treatment of disease, life-saving surgery, etc. And, of course, medical travel includes such care as well … though to date, at least for those who travel out of the United States, dentistry and cosmetic surgery remains the largest part of medical tourism.

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Nov 14

I probably know more about female cosmetic surgery than is common to 50-something males who don’t have a spouse or girlfriend who has had any … or who aren’t cosmetic surgeons.

And people who are interested in having cosmetic surgery have no reason to be interested in my own opinions about the subject. This might be why at least a couple of reviewers have characterized Beauty from Afar as “dispassionate.” I consider it a high compliment. Today, we have a brief update with material on body lifts and buttocks impants and augmentation.

Chapter 4 Page 5 |Body Lifts and Butts

In Chapter 4, I tried to keep my list of  “surgeries for which people travel abroad” down to those which people most commonly seek. Apparently I could not resist butt implants, which are still relatively uncommon … and here one have the one, brief mention of cosmetic surgery of the labia.

Maybe I added that to prove I wasn’t a prude. Or maybe I was titillated. I don’t believe that particular operation to be very common. But I do recall seeing an entire cable TV show about someone who had it sometime in the last couple of years, so I’m not feeling like I’ve given the matter any undue attention.

We’re close to the end of Chapter 4 … just two more web pages, it looks like to me.

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