Regulating Health Tourism: World leaders meet in Tijuana.

   The CDC travel warning has now increase to another 30 cases reported in Canada of patients returning home with surgical infections with Antibacterial-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa after having weight loss surgery in Tijuana. A prompt response of the global bariatric surgical community this past week concluded in the first international global bariatric surgery and health tourism meeting in Tijuana, Baja, Mexico. Present were the executives representing the top international academic and surgical organizations. This meeting included the presence of  Dr Almino Ramos Cardozo, President  IFSO (International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity), Dr Eric de Maria President of the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), Dr Nelson Rodriguez President CMCOEM (Mexican College of Obesity and Metabolic Diseases), Dr Sergio Verboonen, President of the Baja California chapter of the Mexican College of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, Dr Ariel Ortiz Lagardere President of IBC Communications (International Bariatric Club) and Dr Lopez Corvala, local host and bariatric surgeon at Angeles Hospital in Tijuana. Watch the interview HERE.
   The topic of the meeting was patient safety and quality of care. The goal of the meeting was to dictate specific guidelines and recommendations for health tourism specifically related to weight loss surgery. All the executives voiced their opinion on what these safety guidelines should include with most agreeing that patient education is key.  All the U.S. published statements and guidelines on health toursim agree that every patient should research the provider, the  physician licensing, facility accreditation and outcomes before traveling outside their country for weight loss surgery. A patient should look for quality accreditations like the Joint Commission International before they travel. The Global Bariatric Surgery Task Force  will diligently work on creating the updated Global Bariatric Clinical Guidelines and is committed to publish them on several patient portals and organization websites and have agreed to publish them in an easy to understand and easy to find format online. These guidelines should be readily available for all patients looking into the health tourism option of weight loss surgery and should lead to a more educated consumer on where to find the providers outside their country offering optimal quality of care and ideal patient safety standards.
The organizations represented in this meeting, IFSO and IBCCLUB are the two of the global societies with a very large membership composed thousands of bariatric and metabolic surgeons worldwide. The ASMBS is the United States society and CMCOEM is the Mexican counterpart. You can find additional information on their websites of IFSO, ASMBS, CMCOEM, IBCCLUB and SafeSurgeryinMexico.org 

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OCC’s epidemiologist is closely monitoring the COVID-19 status and is actively issuing updates as they are available. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are the most trusted sources online.  While the CDC has announced new mask protocols for vaccinated individuals, there will be no changes for our office protocols for patients, guests, and staff members as the announcement does not apply to hospitals or medical facilities. Masks are still a requirement for all patients, guests and staff at our facility.

As we reinitiate weight loss surgery, we are constantly adapting and installing new and updated safety measures.

Weight loss surgery is medically necessary.

Bariatric Surgery and the clash of two pandemics.   

Major metabolic and bariatric surgery Societies and colleges globally are now calling for the safe resumption of bariatric and metabolic surgery before the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over. 

The sooner bariatric surgery can be safely performed, the quicker obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases can be reduced or resolved as they are not only chronic they are also progressive.  Obesity is also linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and at least 13 different types of cancer.

A recent statement from the ASMBS says “Before COVID-19 began, it was clear that patients with obesity were ‘safer through surgery.’ In the era of COVID-19, ‘safer through surgery’ for patients with obesity may prove to be even more important than before.” Obesity and Metabolic syndrome have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes including death among COVID-19 patients.

See here for full COVID-19 update. 

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