Traveling the Extra Mile: In Search of Expert Care (Part 1 of 2)
by Daniel F. Kelly
Doing what it takes to get the best care
Being diagnosed with a brain tumor, skull base tumor or pituitary adenoma is a frightening, life-altering event. Fortunately, treatments for all these tumor types whether cancerous or benign have advanced significantly over the last two decades. From minimally invasive keyhole and endoscopic tumor removal techniques to focused precision-delivered radiosurgery and radiotherapy to personalized genetic tumor profiling, innovative immunotherapies and new tumor-targeted magnetic fields. The arsenal to treat all types of intracranial tumors has expanded dramatically.
However, the latest pituitary, skull base and metastatic brain tumor treatments, technologies and most experienced centers of excellence to manage these disorders are not widely available or evenly distributed around the globe. Finding such a center for a particular tumor type and putting a plan into action can be a major challenge for patients and their families on many levels, including 1) verifying credentials and the true expertise of the surgeons and their hospital, 2) determining if out-of-state or international health insurance can cover some or all of the costs, and 3) planning an extended trip far away from home, obtaining visas, finding lodging and getting around the city where treatment will be delivered.
Called medical travel or medical tourism, seeking medical care outside your own city or country has become increasingly feasible for many patients. Thanks to the internet, social media and old-fashioned word-of-mouth, resourceful patients and their families from across the country and around the globe have found Pacific Neuroscience Institute and our Centers of Excellence and have come here for their treatment. Juan travelled from Chile after being diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma, Donatella’s family found our center and she came to our center from Italy suffering with a skull base tumor, and Gili came to us from Israel after struggling to get a diagnosis for a craniopharyngioma (a benign brain tumor on the pituitary gland). They have kindly shared their experiences in Part 2 of this two part blog.
Ajay had a pituitary tumor and came to our center for surgery from New Delhi, India.
Why are patients willing to travel the extra mile to Pacific Neuroscience Institute?
At Pacific Brain Tumor Center & Pacific Pituitary Disorders Center, we understand that logistical, financial and personal challenges can add to the stress of trying to cope with a newly diagnosed brain tumor and finding the best team and place for your care. Consequently, we provide the following:
> Medical record and imaging (MRI/CT) reviews free of charge to give our initial impressions or a second opinion before you decide to travel for treatment.
> Highly experienced and collaborative medical team that offers unsurpassed world-class care for patients with all types of intracranial tumors in an award-winning state-of-the-art hospital.
> Extensive educational resources on our Brain Tumor and Pituitary Disorders websites about all major tumor types and treatment options, including use of the endoscopic endonasal approach and other keyhole surgical options, as well as how we maximize effectiveness and safety of the surgery, to minimize risks of complications and collateral damage.
> Experienced administrative team and financial liaison who will help guide you through the process, providing concierge service as well as advice and resources for traveling from Los Angeles International Airport, reserving accommodations in the Santa Monica / West LA area, and getting to and from the hospital.
> Elite Member of the Medical Travel Association which assesses facilities and their supporting networks to ensure high levels of healthcare standards.
> Liaison services with Health Flight Solutions, a medical travel company that specializes in connecting patients from abroad as well as within the United States with centers of excellence such as ours.
Our expertise is recognized by medical professionals who have come to us for their own care. Dennis, a physician, sought out our services and traveled from Missouri when he discovered he had a pituitary adenoma.
We are happy to provide a second opinion or initial consultation for patients seeking our medical expertise. Chris from Georgia came to our center because he was not able to find a surgeon locally to remove a brain tumor using a minimally invasive approach. We successfully performed his supraorbital surgery (through the eyebrow) to remove a large meningioma and upon his return to Georgia a couple of weeks later, his own doctor did not see the scar!
Whether from near or far, our patients are treated with the care we would give a family member and it is gratifying to see that our work can transform their lives for the better.
Read about our international patients’ experiences in Part 2 of this two part blog.
About the Author
Daniel F. Kelly
is the Director of the Pacific Brain Tumor and Pituitary Disorders Centers at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. Considered to be one of the top neurosurgeons in the U.S., Dr. Kelly is internationally recognized in the field of minimally invasive keyhole surgery for brain, pituitary and skull base tumors. He continues to focus his efforts on advancing innovative treatments for patients, providing fellowship training in minimally invasive neurosurgery, and patient education and support.
Last updated: November 13th, 2019