The Internet provided interactive features allowing for a global, quick, efficient and documented communication among physicians and Institutions. The life of a patient cannot be limited by geographic, political, racial, social or ideological boundaries. When browsing through the items below you will better understand how physicians and Institutions interact in the world of medicine.
Most cancer diagnosis and treatment have standard and universal guidelines. However, there are very specific situations where the attending physician needs to share opinions in an international arena. This occurs in rare clinical cases or situations whose complexity is in the boundary of knowledge. Doctors who deal with cancer are aware of the national and international possibilities. They also should inform the patient about the existence of experimental treatments and check for patient’s eligibility criteria.
International cooperation is necessary in rare clinical cases or situations whose complexity is in the boundary of knowledge. This usually involves specific professionals or Institutions, which have worked for many years on that particular situation. The experience concentration allows for safer judgments, especially in extreme and serious medical conditions that imply the need to choose between standard or experimental treatment. The international cooperation is a current practice and should be done preferably in writing, aiming to make it official.
International cooperation involves sharing responsibilities. The patient has to be aware that it is not just the exchange of ideas and exams. Occasionally it is necessary to travel. The doctor abroad must have the opportunity to examine the patient and order tests in its own institution. Opinions given without examining the patient often does not have the same level of commitment. This is an extreme searching process requiring a careful assessment of risks and benefits.
When international cooperation involves a doctor who is connected to a hospital, the responsibility is further divided between the professional and his institution. This whole context must be considered before patient’s application for an international consultation. Medical reports must be translated. Materials should be made available for transportation. Biological material travel regulations might be required. Costs should be considered. Funding through health insurance, government or NGOs should be pursued.
Experimental treatments are available in many research centers worldwide. When patient has eligibility for an experimental treatment, the attending physician should refer him to the nearest center. When travel is necessary, the patient’s clinical trial eligibility criteria must be assessed before the trip.