Medical Tourism
A Reference Handbook
by Kathy Stolley and Stephanie Watson
April 2012, 343pp, 6 x 9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-540-2
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-541-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Medical tourism has grown tremendously in the last decade—hardly surprising, given estimates that variously suggest traveling abroad for can save Americans from 10 to 80 percent on the cost of medical care, depending on location and service provided. While the popularity of medical tourism is a modern phenomenon, the practice of traveling specifically for medical benefit extends thousands of years back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

From exotic spa treatments to euthanasia, this book examines the background and social context of medical tourism—the practice of traveling for health care. This work also documents how this industry is reshaping the face of medicine worldwide for individuals, local communities, and national health care systems.

Medical Tourism: A Reference Handbook provides an accessible overview of the state of medical tourism, written from a balanced, unbiased perspective. The authors provide relevant social context for this controversial topic, discussing the state of extremely limited research data on medical tourism; the ethical issues involved, such as traveling to have a black-market organ transplanted; and the significant impact of medical tourism on health care systems—that of the United States, and those of the destination countries.

The book highlights many contemporary problems, controversies, and implications of medical tourism both for individuals and health care systems, and presents thought-provoking potential solutions. The topic of medical tourism is also addressed against the backdrop of current healthcare reforms in the United States. Readers can reference a wealth of additional material on medical tourism, ranging from original documents to extensive directories of selected organizations and resources.


  • A timeline of important historical and contemporary events in history of medical tourism
  • An extensive bibliography to assist readers toward additional resources for further research
Kathy Stolley, PhD, is Batten Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk. Her emphasis is applied sociology—using sociological tools and perspectives to bring about positive social change. She was editor-in-chief of the applied sociology journal Social Insight: Knowledge at Work. Her published works include Greenwood's The Basics of Sociology; Greenwood's HIV/AIDS, coauthored with John F. Glass; and The Praeger Handbook of Adoption, coedited with Vern L. Bullough. Stolley has worked in various sociological practice positions outside of academics, including policing, organizational consulting, and social science research.

Stephanie Watson is an experienced freelance writer and editor specializing in health and science. Her clients have included WebMD, A.D.A.M. (MedlinePlus), Sharecare, Rosen Publishing, and Thomson Gale. Watson was formerly a producer for The Travel Channel, and a writer/producer for Her published works include The Genetics of Obesity; The Mechanisms of Genetics: An Anthology of Current Thought; Spina Bifida; and contributions to Biotechnology: Changing Life Through Science.


"The title’s health care provider profiles and resource listings are extraordinarily worthwhile."—Library Journal, October 1, 2012

"Authoritative and objective and explores a social and economic trend worldwide. . . . Stolley and Watson have produced a reference work that will be used by patrons to begin and then facilitate their own searches for medical information. Recommended for most medium-sized to large public libraries."—Booklist, August 1, 2012

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
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  • Politics, Law, and Government
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Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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