Cosmetic and Transplant Surgery Scams

Medical tourism developed in response to the high cost of these procedures back home. Cosmetic and transplant surgery scams followed.

Cosmetic Surgery Scams

The most common types of cosmetic surgeries include breast implants, facelifts, tummy-tucks, butt-lifts, nose jobs (rhinoplasty and septoplasty), liposuction, and dental reconstruction. They can all result in cosmetic surgery scams. Especially in the context of medical tourism.

The cost of the same procedure in Colombia or Brazil, for example, is between one-half and one-third of what it would be in the United States. It’s hardly surprising, but jerrybuilt clinics in which woefully inexperienced plastic surgeons (or even unlicensed ones) operate offer the best prices.

Apart from a less-than-satisfactory result from the surgery, complications can begin immediately after discharge. This is especially true in the event the patient requires follow-up treatments but does not receive them. These complications may include bleeding, blood clots, fluid  accumulation, infections, numbness, scarring, skin discoloration, skin loss, and swelling. In addition, a premature flight back home is flirting with danger. It might result in a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Attending physicians should warn patients to wait at least a week to 10 days before boarding a plane. Nonetheless, it’s typical for scam clinics not to do so. After all, the faster they discharge their patients the more traffic they get.

Transplant Surgery Scams

In most countries, the demand for vital organs for transplant is higher than the supply. That simple fact created an open market for transplant tourism. And transplant surgery scams. Since the alternative to a transplant is likely to be rapid deterioration and death, many patients will grasp at any opportunity available.

Where do the transplanted organs used in surgery scams come from?

To meet demand (but first and foremost to cash in on the profit that they pocket from transplant candidates with terminal diseases), an  international underground traffics in organs from a number of dubious sources. For example, multiple reports accuse China of harvesting organs from convicted prisoners sentenced to capital punishment after their executions.

Poverty, Smuggling and Sub-Standard Procedures

In India, Pakistan, Brazil, the Philippines and a number of other countries, black markets for organs are a big business. Poverty is the reason why. Brokers pay volunteers in shantytowns a pittance for their kidneys. In most cases, unqualified personnel remove the kidneys in less-than-sterile conditions in unlicensed, back-room substitutes for operating theaters. A courier will then smuggle the kidney to a third country like Turkey, Kosovo and Azerbaijan, where the actual transplant takes place. Transplant surgery scams thrive under these conditions. Sub-standard procedures often lead to infections in transplant recipients, and even death.

However, the underworld brokers also have ways to smuggle organs into the United States and other Western countries. The transplant recipient then undergoes the procedure under clinically acceptable conditions in legitimate hospitals.

We should also mention here a completely different version of cosmetic and transplant surgery scams. On occasion, spam e-mails and social media posts have spoofed real hospitals claiming to offer cash for organ donations. These are phishing scams designed only to obtain the contact information of those who reply in order to commit identity theft. Legitimate transplant programs do not pay for organs. 

If you think you have been victimized by a surgical scam, consult with the fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.