Medical Tourism: Oklahoma Man Says It Isn't Worth The Savings - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

NEWS

Medical Tourism: Oklahoma Man Says It Wasn't Worth The Savings

Posted: Updated:
Wanting to lose weight, Lippe decided to have a lap band procedure in Tijuana, Mexico. Wanting to lose weight, Lippe decided to have a lap band procedure in Tijuana, Mexico.
Follow up care is imperative for a lap band to work. Doctors must periodically refill the saline used to tighten the band. Follow up care is imperative for a lap band to work. Doctors must periodically refill the saline used to tighten the band.
Lippe researched the hospital, talked to former patients, and the surgery went even better than expected. Lippe researched the hospital, talked to former patients, and the surgery went even better than expected.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Jan Neufeld lost close to 200 pounds after traveling to India for gastric bypass surgery, a journey she says saved her.

"It's given me my life back," Neufeld said.

2/13/2012 Related Story: Medical Tourism: Oklahoma Woman Travels Overseas For Inexpensive Surgery

Tony Lippe's medical trip didn't have the same story book ending. Wanting to lose weight, Lippe decided to have a lap band procedure in Tijuana, Mexico.

"The price was probably 1/5th what it was here in America," Tony Lippe said.

Lippe did his homework, after all he's a nurse. He researched the hospital, talked to former patients, and the surgery went even better than expected.

"I woke up and didn't realize I even had the surgery until I saw the incisions on the abdomen" Lippe said.

It wasn't until Lippe returned home to Oklahoma that he ran into a big problem.

"They wouldn't work on me because I had no paperwork," Lippe said. "I had no medical records where the surgery had actually been done."

Follow up care is imperative for a lap band to work. Doctors must periodically refill the saline used to tighten the band. Leave it alone and the lap band doesn't do its job.

Local doctors told Lippe the only way they'd treat him is if he paid around $3000 in upfront costs, offsetting the money he saved by going to Mexico. That's something he isn't ready to do.

Lippe's dilemma doesn't surprise local bariatric surgeon Dr. Russell Gornichec.

"The most serious part is having a complication and not wanting to go see a local specialist because of fear of added cost," Dr. Russell Gornichec said.

Lippe lost about 40 pounds shortly after the surgery. But hasn't shed any since. He hopes that will change.

"I still hope to find a doctor," Lippe said. "Somebody will come in and say, 'we'll accept you.'"

Doctor Gornichec says there are three things you can do before considering a trip for surgery.

  •  Make sure you get support from a primary care physician at home.
  •  Understand the risks.
  •  And know the names of and costs for local specialists who will see you for after-care if needed.

Special Features

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

Radars

See where weather is happening using our live interactive radars.

Classifieds

Use our free classifieds to find the things you need or sell your items.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

ESP Interactive
Powered by WorldNow
News 9
7401 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
OKLAHOMA CITY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own News9.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Oklahoma City's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KWTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.