Tummy Tuck + Eyelid Surgery
Joanne Woltmon on her way to the operating room for a tummy tuck.
Medical Travel: Through the Client's Eyes
by Nick Verrastro at Travel Market Report
July 07, 2011
Travel agents serving medical travelers should be familiar with medical travel destinations, including the local language, and have contacts with English-speaking healthcare professionals and destination service providers.
That’s the advice of Hawaii veterinarian Joanne Woltmon, DVM. Woltmon recently traveled to Thailand for eyelid surgery and a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).
Woltmon’s trip was handled by Thai Medical Travel & Tourism (TMTT), a division of the Honolulu travel agency International Travel Services, Inc.
Thai Medical Travel & Tourism provides referral services and travel arrangements. The company’s expertise in travel and in providing referrals was a key contributor to the successful outcome of her medical trip, Woltmon told Travel Market Report.
A positive experience
“It is daunting enough to be facing a surgical or medical procedure, but to do so in a foreign country compounds this fact, even knowing that these doctors are highly qualified and trained,” she said. “TMTT’s expertise and assistance made my travel experience a very positive one.”
International Travel Services' co-owners Kiki Bright and Cheri Bright established Thailand Medical Travel & Tourism in 2008 to cultivate a network of agents who can book travel arrangements for medical travelers to Thailand. (See related story, Thai Tourism Launches Web-Based Med Travel Promo, Nov. 8, 2011.)
A valuable assist
Woltmon said the medical travel specialists helped her in number of ways, including providing links to websites where she could find answers to questions about her upcoming surgical procedure arrangements.
The travel company also set up airport-hotel transfers. The ground transportation turned out to be especially valuable, since Woltmon’s flight was delayed, eventually landing at 2:30 a.m.
The agency also arranged for an in-country personal assistant to accompany Woltmon, helping her to catch taxis, get to appointments on time and communicate with hospital staff and doctors.
The assistant also accompanied Woltmon on side tours before her procedure and during her convalescence. One notable experience, she related, was a pre-op ferry ride from Bangkok to Wat Pho to see the reclining Buddha.
“The buildings were fabulous. Especially as the sun was setting, the golden glow of the temple was amazing,” said Woltmon.
Wat Pho is also the site of Thailand’s first medical and massage school.
A MEDICAL TRAVELER’S DIARY
Travel Market Report asked Joanne Woltmon, DVM, a recent medical traveler to Thailand, to relate her experience and the role her travel agency played. Woltmon made her arrangements through Thai Medical Travel & Tourism (TMTT), a division of the Hawaii-based travel agency International Travel Services, Inc.
Following are edited excerpts from her first-person account.
Entering the country: Arriving in Thailand at 2.30 a.m., I was greeted by a woman bearing a sign with my name on it.
We whisked over the huge modern freeways into Bangkok, where we started traversing the sois (narrow roads). I was quite apprehensive about what I was seeing until we arrived at a large, plush hotel.
My bags were promptly brought up to the room, where I showered and rested.
Kiki Bright [co-owner of International Travel Service] met me in the lobby to accompany me to my pre-operative examination at Samitvej Hospital. There we met Kim, who was the hospital liaison, and Aey, my personal assistant.
Pre-op consultation: When the doctor met with me, he took 30 to 45 minutes explaining the procedures and answering my questions. Upon conclusion of our exam, I was accompanied to the lab for baseline chem panel, CBC, and bleeding times, chest X-Ray and ECG.
The doctor went over the results, proclaimed that it was a go for surgery the next morning.
Surgery day: Kiki Bright picked me up at the hotel at 6 a.m. I was admitted and in the operating room by 7 a.m.
The eyelid surgery was performed under a local anesthetic. My doctor explained every step. For the tummy tuck, the anesthesiologist placed an IV catheter, then said ‘good night, bye-bye’ – the last thing I remember until I was in recovery.
Post-op: My hospital room was spacious and comfortable, with a small refrigerator, safe, closet, etc. It looked much like a hotel room.
The nursing staff was fabulous. When I pushed the call button, one to four nurses were in my room in less than 90 seconds.
The meals were superb. You received a menu with four types of food (Oriental, Thai, Western, vegetarian and Japanese) with two choices from each for meal.
My personal assistant Aey and Kiki Bright came daily to check on me and take pictures of my daily progress, so I could show my friends.
Discharged: On the second morning after my surgery, I was discharged. I returned to my hotel and took it easy, read a book, ordered room service.
Aey brought me fruit and gave me a menu from one of her favorite food places. She ordered for me. It was delivered shortly afterwards – tasty pad thai and satay.
I thanked her profusely.
Read the original article at http://www.travelmarketreport.com/medical?articleID=6025&LP=1