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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Sep 14

(February 2006)

Throughout the research and writing of Beauty from Afar, I communicated with and consulted many surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. I talked to and consulted many more people than those mentioned or quoted in this book, having had to pick and choose each step of the way. Readers should not assume that any particular doctor or medical facility has my particular endorsement just by fact of their appearance in these pages. That which serves the general narrative of this book should not be taken as more than that. In no way do I mean to suggest, for example, that the surgeons to whose work I refer are better at what they do than many others who are unmentioned. They are offered as illustrative examples and are among those who have the most experience in medical tourism. From their collective individual experiences, from the published news reports about medical tourism of the last decade, from extensive research online, and from collateral reading of what few books touch upon the subject, I was able to assemble a more general picture of what individual prospective medical
tourists should seek out, and what they can expect to find.

Similarly, that I mention companies that cater to patients who wish to travel abroad for surgery should in no way be construed as endorsing the quality of their services. Again, they are examples, a few chosen from many fledgling enterprises. It is my personal judgment, based on lengthy experience as a journalist and virtually none with startup companies, that those I selected have a stronger chance than most of succeeding in the long run; but I have no way of knowing for sure.

In the interests of full disclosure, readers should also know I have accepted no remuneration, fee, or discounted services from any business or individual mentioned in this book. I owe meals to a couple of people, perhaps, but owe favorable or preferential treatment to no one and made no bargains regarding treatment in return for interviews or access to facilities. Many of those I did interview were allowed to review draft text of Beauty from Afar to check the accuracy of my reporting, and I thank them all for their time and diligence. The end product is solely my responsibility.

Many people have asked me why I chose to write about the specific countries that I did. Fine low-cost medical services and talented, highly qualified surgeons exist in many others. All along, however, I was determined to provide information about countries that are currently the most accessible and inviting to medical tourists, the ones where the U.S. and European markets are targeted and courted. Certainly, one can find excellent plastic surgeons and medical facilities in many countries that are unmentioned in this book. If you prefer going to one of them, don’t take my neglect as a sign of my disapproval. Do your homework, choose wisely, and have a great trip.

Jeff Schult
Author, Beauty from Afar

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Jun 25

I’m Jeff Schult. I wrote Beauty from Afar: A Medical Tourist’s Guide to Affordable and Quality Cosmetic Care Outside the U.S. in 2005 and 2006; it was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams Books, New York, N.Y., in July 2006. BFA, as I came to call it for short, was the first book about medical travel and tourism published in the United States. I became known as something of an expert on the subject of medical travel and made a small career out of that. The book sold thousands of copies.

Unfortunately, it did not sell the tens of thousands of copies that might have earned it a second printing and, in July 2009, the rights to the book reverted to me. I have no regrets. I did a good job on the book and therefore, most likely, will get to write another one — and I am working on that.

In the meantime, however — what to do with BFA? You can still buy the book itself online, new or used … but it will become increasingly unavailable as time goes on. The logical thing to do is to make it available as an e-book, and that I will do.

For now (Jan. 2013) about the first third of the book is online here. Eventually, the full text of Beauty from Afar will become available, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, on this web site. This way, I can comment on it myself and update where necessary. Though I think the book holds up well over time, inevitably I will have more to say.

Here is what I had to say when the book was first published:

Since I wrote the book, I have consulted for various medical travel companies both in the U.S. and abroad; I was editor of a medical travel newsletter;  and I have conceived, executed and written web sites and blogs for medical travel companies and web sites. I am webmaster and editor of the Prisma Dental blog for my Costa Rican dentists, and their site has become the most trafficked site of any dental practitioner in the world, according to Alexa rankings.

I am available for work. I’m less expensive than you might think, but I’m not cheap.

I expect that this book site will, in time, become one of the most popular sites about medical tourism on the web. I am open to advertising and partnership ideas. You can contact me at:

jss at beautyfromafar dot com.

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