Manitobans become 'medical tourists' in
WINNIPEG, Oct 1 (CBC) - A Manitoba company
offering "foreign surgery for the middle
classes" is finding most of its patients
come from the Maritimes and the United States,
not its home province.
Choices Self Directed Healthcare will arrange
for Cuban medical facilities to carry out
a variety of surgical procedures - from
cosmetic to neurosurgery - for patients
from Canada and the U.S.
The "medical tourism" service
can help Canadian patients avoid long waits
for surgery, while for U.S. patients, the
main attraction is reduced cost.
Company founder Daren Jorgenson says most
of the company's clients have come from
the United States and the Maritime region
in Canada, not Manitoba.
"[Manitoba] is doing a fairly good
job on surgery times, so that's why we're
not seeing a lot of Manitobans call us for
surgeries," Jorgenson told CBC News.
"The reason I say that is because
we've probably had a lot more exposure in
this province than any other province -
being a local company - and we still haven't
had a flood of people calling us for surgeries.
"But we've had a large number of people
calling us from the Maritimes," he
added. "Something's going on out there
that they're not addressing the surgery
wait times as well as [in] Western Canada."
Most of the company's Manitoba clients
are young people who have suffered sports-related
injuries who prefer to travel rather than
wait any length of time for surgery at home,
Dave Kornachuk is one of those patients.
He's planning a trip to Cuba for surgery
on a leg tendon torn while practising martial
arts last winter.
Kornachuk expects he'd have to wait about
six months for surgery in Manitoba, but
doesn't want to wait.
"My principle desire is to try and
get on with this and repair this leg as
soon as possible," he said.
More than 200 patients have travelled to
Cuba for hip and knee replacements, dental
implants, addictions treatment, diagnostic
tests and other services, according to the
Treatment costs range from $1,400 for minor
outpatient surgery to more than $20,000