Medical procedures to make you lighter in the pocket

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There are an increasing number of ads on social media heralding the arrival of some renowned physician or plastic surgeon coming to a local medical facility for a short visit. Readers are urged to seize the opportunity and book an appointment for a consultation. Renowned to whom, I wonder? Possibly to his family and a small group of close friends, I surmise.

Back in the 1960s, a popular Western was airing weekly on TV titled “Have Gun, Will Travel.” It depicted a cowboy who went wherever the buck was available. Right or wrong was of secondary matter to him. He was a mercenary of sorts. An analogy to some of the lucrative medical practices today would be more like: “Have scalpel, will travel.”

This visiting specialist’s qualifications are usually listed under the ad, and in most cases they are from some obscure medical institute in the West. You the reader are meant to be roused into a frenzy and encouraged to pick up the phone and make the earliest appointment. After all, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to discover ailments within you that previously never existed or make physical adjustments to your body, which you had never realized that you needed until now.

I would not have paid attention to these ads had it not been for some recent close encounters regarding this issue. Not long ago, a good friend was relating to me how he had made an appointment with a heralded visiting orthodontist for his 12-year-old daughter just before the summer holidays. After paying exorbitant consultation fees (renowned consultants do demand renowned fees, after all) he took his daughter to see this man of fame.

Subjected to various x-rays and with various dentistry tools forced into her mouth by an assistant, the girl was relieved when the examination was finally over. She then accompanied her father to an office where this famous quack sat solemnly perusing her test results and file.

Finally he looked up at the father and ventured that the girl’s wisdom teeth needed pulling out. “Which ones?” my friend Ali wanted to know. “All four of them,” replied the specialist. The girl looked up hesitantly at her dad, noticing a look of concern on his face. The specialist went into some medical jargon that left Ali feeling somewhat inadequate and insecure.

“Not to worry,” continued the orthodontist, as he called the nurse’s aide and scheduled the girl for an appointment for three days later. Sure enough, on the appointed day, the girl had all four wisdom teeth removed and a bunch of stitches left in her mouth.

A week later, she developed some complications due to infection. When Ali called to reschedule another appointment with the renowned orthodontist, the secretary told him that he had already left for his country, but the house dentist would be glad to see his girl. The total cost of this venture had left him SR 42,000 riyals lighter in the pocket, and with a daughter who would most likely suffer her summer holidays in pain and agony.

Another friend, Ismail, related to me how he succumbed to one of these ads and took his wife to see a visiting endocrinologist. She had been complaining of colitis, and after a battery of tests, the physician recommended some surgical procedure to remove a section of her intestine.

With the operation completed and the physician well on his way to his homeland, Ismail was perturbed to notice his wife had shown no visible signs of improvement. In fact, she was still bed-ridden in the hospital with the riyal meter running! After further major complications, Ismail had no choice but to take her to a specialist hospital in Riyadh for corrective surgery. The total experience relieved Ismail of over SR68,000.

And as I write, more ads will appear with more promises of healers appearing here in short bursts from all parts of the globe, ever ready to relieve you of your wallet or turn you into the next Kardashian.

Simple advice...Beware!

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena


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