A potentially deadly superbug infected U.S. patients from multiple states after they had surgery in Mexico, underscoring a worrying trend in the rapidly growing medical tourism sector.
From Daily Caller:
Twelve patients, who are from states including Arkansas, Oregon and West Virginia, contracted the multidrug-resistant bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa after being treated at clinics in Tijuana, Mexico, according to U.S. health officials cited by The Washington Post. The patients crossed the border looking for cheaper medical care. Instead, they came back with infections that have led to through-the-roof medical bills for many of them.
An Arkansas woman named Tamika Capone is still fighting her infection months after surgery and has rung up at least $30,000 in medical bills, reported WaPo. A Utah woman named Mindy Blohm said she had to sell her house to afford $50,000 in hospital bills after contracting a different strain of Pseudomonas.
The link between the women? Both Capone and Blohm traveled to Grand View Hospital in Tijuana for weight-loss surgery in October. Both returned to the U.S. with symptoms doctors traced back to the dangerous bacteria, which can’t be spread through the air but still necessitates precaution. The World Health Organization prioritized the bug as one of three “most critical” bacteria that needs more treatment options in a 2017 letter.
These patients’ medical emergencies come as “medical tourism” becomes more popular among Americans, many of whom face rising insurance costs.