Extreme medical tourism takes on many forms

Posted: June 8, 2010 in Health

In my post about the drug rehabilitation program at Wat Thamkrabok in Lopburi, Thailand, I referred to it as “extreme medical tourism”. I thought that was sort of an interesting concept so did a search for that term today. There were a few results, mostly spammy stuff pushing run-of-the-mill overseas medical centers. But one item stood out as true extreme medical tourism.

It’s a story about an sufferer of severe asthma who could not get relief from existing drug treatments and was actually suffering drug side effects. He was driven to find an alternate way to control his condition. And he found it by infecting himself with hookworm. Do you know that that is? It is a tiny parasitic worm that is found in feces and normally infects people who walk around barefoot in moist tropical climates where there are not adequate sewer systems.

Wow, traveling to Cameroon and walking around barefoot in open air latrines to deliberately infect yourself with a parasite found in fecal matter, now that is extreme medical tourism! The detailed story with photos is here. The story was also commented on a bit at this blog.


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