What Is Medical Tourism? Let Sarasota Show You

PURPOSE: For Sarasota and Her Islands Visitor & Convention Bureau blog…

Shopping to get the most bang for your buck isn’t relegated to buying a car or the best cell phone plan anymore. Patients seeking medical procedures such as knee or hip replacement and cataract surgery are now shopping around, going beyond their local physician and hospital to investigate places like Malaysia, India and Thailand, comparing prices and well, looking into what each has to offer as a vacation destination as well.

Let’s face it, if you’re going to recuperate from surgery, you may as well do it in a place that offers beautiful scenery, exquisite service, delectable dining and engaging entertainment.

Not only does Sarasota offer all of the above, it also happens to house the best trained physicians, cutting-edge technology and the most stringent safety standards in the world.

Dr. Debra Sandberg, CEO of Sarasota’s Florida Med Retreat, says that while patients had been traveling outside of the U.S. for lower-cost surgical procedures, the trend in medical tourism is beginning to shift back to the States.

“A couple things happened to change industry,” Dr. Sandberg explains. “People who had gone to other countries suffered complications because the equipment is just not as good. Our surgeons have had to do repairs on patients who’ve had procedures performed in other countries.

“So in the last five years the U.S. has been a popular choice for its safety and security,” Dr. Sandberg continues. “It was just rated the fifth most desirable destination in world. Also, doctors in U.S. hospitals are willing to work with those who pay cash.”

Florida Med Retreat: Surgery in Paradise

Florida Med Retreat is designed to accommodate patients who not only desire superior medical treatment, but a superior rehabilitative experience as well. The retreat offers door-to-door concierge service—from assistance in scheduling the procedure to arranging luxury accommodations and entertainment for the family, to planning the patient’s medical itinerary.

The retreat boasts 10 specialists who offer medical services that include cosmetic procedures, cataract surgery, orthopedic corrections, vascular surgery, urological treatments and neurological procedures performed at both Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Following surgery, patients can join their families at the luxurious Sarasota Bay Club, where the club’s rehabilitation center, The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, offers physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Post-Op Perks

In addition to world-class medical facilities and staff, Sarasota’s advantages include pristine beaches, world-class museums, theater and dining.

Siesta Key’s Crescent Beach was recently named the No. 1 Beach in North America by beach expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman. Its powdered sugar sands and island amenities offer serenity and comfort in a tropical setting. But there’s also plenty of beach to enjoy on Longboat Key, Casey Key and Lido Key, Venice and Englewood. Sarasota boasts 13 public beaches along Florida’s southwest coast.

When John Ringling brought his circus to town in the early part of the 20th century, his love of the arts and discriminating taste came with him, which helped to mold Sarasota into the internationally acclaimed cultural destination it is today.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses 600 Baroque masterpieces and a collection of Peter Paul Rubens’ work that is considered the finest in the world, and his historic mansion is an architectural masterpiece. Also located on the estate is the Asolo Theater, a genuine 18th century palace playhouse originally constructed and used in Asolo, Italy. Ringling had the theater carefully dismantled, shipped and reassembled in Sarasota, where it now serves as a state theater housing a world-class repertory company.

Sarasota thriving downtown theater district includes the Sarasota Opera House, the Banyan Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, the Golden Apple Dinner Theater and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida. And there are galleries, too, such as Art Uptown and Artisans” World Marketplace, to name a few.

Sarasota’s culinary offerings are no less stellar. This coastal community’s international flavor and love of culture have enticed chefs and sommeliers from around the world to call Sarasota home. And their award-winning restaurants offer everything from European fare to Indian flavor, surfside seafood to submarine sandwiches.

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