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8 May, 2012

U.S. Lawyer Urges Legal Action Against “Medical Tourism” Malpractice


A Jewish American lawyer whose young son died at a major hospital in Bangkok has launched what he describes as a “new consulting service to trial lawyers and patients regarding the legal issues stemming from the rise of medical tourism.” Long known to have been only a matter of time, the move could prove to be a game-changer for the entire medical tourism industry worldwide which has so far chosen only to hype its cost-benefit advantages, while ignoring its huge social and legal implications.

The following full text of the media release, reproduced verbatim, makes clear what is now at stake. Should the hospital named in the release chose to comment, it is free to use the comment box provided at the bottom of the release.

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 08, 2012 — James R. Goldberg, author of, “The American Medical Money Machine: The Destruction of Healthcare in American and The Rise of Medical Tourism,” released a statement through his publisher, Homonculus Press representative Robert Marshall, “Via accreditation by the Oakbrook, Illinois based Joint Commission (JC), offshore hospitals are now eligible to receive reimbursement payments from Medicare and private insurers for the medical treatment of American patients. Some call this carefully packaged ruse Medical Tourism; Goldberg calls it Medical Outsourcing.”

In response, Goldberg announced a new consulting service—Medical Tourism Legal Advisory Services—formed to assist malpractice attorneys and outsourced patients attempting to understand the inner legal workings of Medical Tourism. “We are focusing on the legal implications for American patients who are victims of overseas medical malpractice. We believe they may well be entitled to recovery through the U.S. judicial system,” Goldberg stated.

In his April 2012 statement delivered to Great Decisions, a New Mexico-based foreign affairs study group, Goldberg emphasizes that, “medical insurance companies are covering care costs delivered by U.S.-JC-accredited foreign hospitals, which amounts to their formation of a quasi-government agency.”

“The care delivered by these foreign hospitals is becoming incorporated as though they are administrating regular American insurance policy benefits. These policies encourage employers to export patients for unregulated, cheaper overseas care. Medical Tourism has gone far beyond the accidental tourist or business person who breaks a leg while out of the country: this coverage is being sold by some of America’s largest medical insurers,” Goldberg said.

Marshall added, “Many companies are seeking to reduce medical costs and Medical Tourism is the latest darling… but it’s creating a tsunami whereby American patients are being encouraged in waves to seek overseas, unregulated health care. As the trend grows, patients and their council will be on new ground—no doubt lawyers will be marginally aware of this dangerous new practice. Therefore, as one of the few experts in this arena, Goldberg has established an advisory service to help navigate through the reprehensible Medical Tourism waters. We see great potential for financial recovery litigated through the U.S. court system.”

In his book, Goldberg relates the tragic story of his young son, Joshua, who died on February 22, 2006 at the epicenter for Medical Tourism, Bumrungrad Hospital, in Bangkok, Thailand. His death came under highly suspicious circumstances. After having forensic experts examine Joshua’s hospital chart, many non-standard practices and outright fabrications became apparent: the hospital would not cooperate nor turn over a post mortem blood sample that was collected at Goldberg’s request.

The author explains, “The circumstances surrounding my 23-year-old son’s death changed my life and transformed me from an executive into an investigative reporter.” Three years later, Goldberg published the 450-page tomb, “The American Medical Money Machine.” His book details not only, “the nefarious circumstances surrounding my son’s death, but also delves deeply into how American medical insurance and hospital corporations, working hand-in-glove with the U.S. government, have been laying the foundation for exporting patients for cheaper, unregulated foreign health care.”

Additionally Goldberg said, “When an American citizen is a victim of medical malpractice or malfeasance overseas, the U.S. legal system has had, until now, no jurisdictional authority. Victims were forced to litigate in foreign countries, such as Thailand, whose legal system is arcane and designed to frustrate and make the realization of justice an expensive pipe dream.”

Goldberg went on to explain, “More than 400 hospitals have been accredited by a lookalike American accreditation (through the JC)—except that the standards and performance of foreign hospitals and doctors are not monitored or policed! The JC foreign accreditation ‘seal of approval’ is a near-exact replica of the logo used by American hospitals. The dupe is intended to provide comfort that these foreign hospitals are operating on the same standards as US hospitals. This is false advertising and, I allege, fraud.”

“From a legal perspective, these foreign hospitals are promoting their services to Americans and Europeans, and often have offices or affiliate operations based in the U.S. Many also push their services through medical travel agencies,” Goldberg added.

“Interesting legal questions now arise for lawyers seeking justice in our system of jurisprudence: If these foreign entities have business dealings on our shores, promote and advertise their services or have affiliate operations which promote these often dangerous off shore medical services, who is responsible?” Goldberg asks.

Goldberg believes “that trial lawyers need to look carefully into how to prosecute the growing number of malpractice cases where U.S. citizens are harmed by overseas treatment. “If these foreign hospitals are drumming up business in the U.S. or have U.S.-based affiliates, I suspect this might make them subject to prosecution in the U.S. The number of medical malpractice cases will only continue to grow as the trend of Medical Tourism spreads.”

Robert Marshall says, “Of particular concern to Goldberg is the lack of International treaties that could and should govern the liability of foreign doctors and hospitals. Medical Tourism, to date, is uncharted legal territory. With the onslaught of aging Baby Boomers seeking affordable medical care abroad, new legal precedents need to be set as these Medical Tourism practices take hold. At least insurance policies governing mishaps should be made mandatory for any hospital or doctor offering overseas care for American patients.”

Details of Goldberg’s experience and extensive research into this subject are carefully supported in his book, “The American Medical Money Machine,” available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle, as well as through bookstores everywhere. The advisory service can be accessed by directly calling Mr. Marshall or Author Goldberg.