Bookimed, a global platform for hospital search and treatment arrangement, is proud to share a new record: over 500,000 people have requested our services. Half a million — it means the world for us. Every new request means a new person with a unique story behind. It brings new experiences and challenges for us. We remember everyone. Keep reading the article to find out about the most inspiring cases.
The Power of Hope: 3 Life-Affirming Stories
Most of our patients are people who do not have access to qualitative medical assistance in their places of living or need to wait in long queues to receive help. Often, local doctors make diagnostic errors and appoint ineffective treatment. The loss of precious time frequently reduces the chances of recovery. In such cases, Bookimed becomes the only hope for people who want to get well and live a full life again. Our patients’ stories prove the importance of making all efforts to fight disease and believe in victory.
18 Years Long Path to the Dream
In 2015, a mother of 9-years old Daria from Belarus requested Bookimed. The girl was born with gross abnormality — hemifacial microsomia. She had a cleft; the ramus and joint of the lower jaw were absent. Daria couldn’t live a normal life. The shortage of tissues caused severe facial asymmetry, difficulties with eating, speech and vision malfunctions. Despite the disease, Daria is a kind and talented girl. She studies and draws well, loves animals, and dreams of becoming a doctor.
When the family requested Bookimed, Belorusian doctors had already performed several surgeries to remove parotid fistulas and tumors of both eyes. But they couldn’t correct congenital abnormalities. Bookimed had been searching for a clinic for 2 years across the globe which could agree to accept Daria and give her hope to live a full life. In 2017, we got a small victory:Prof. Francesco Grecchifrom Instituto Ortopedico Galeazzi in Italy invited the girl for a consultation. After a medical survey and diagnostics, the doctor said that he could help. However, Dasha’s family didn’t have enough money to pay for the treatment. But thanks to the efforts of charity funds and caring people, the necessary sum had been collected.
5 months after a consultation, Italian doctors performed the first surgery for Daria. The intervention took about 14 hours. Surgeons extended the left eye-socket, restored absent parts of the cheekbone, jaw, and joint. The whole Bookimed team supported our little patient and waited for good news from Italy.
Watch the video with Daria’s and her mom’s review after the first surgery. Dr. Francesco Grecchi also comments on the treatment process:
The next step was orthodontic treatment: the girl needed to correct the bite with braces. When it was completed, doctors performed the second surgery to correct soft tissues of Daria’s face in 2018, and the third one in 2019.
When writing this article, in June of 2021, Daria underwent rhinoplasty. The family stays in touch with the clinic and waits for an answer from Prof. Francesco Grecchi regarding the next steps. The treatment plan has been established till the girl’s 18th Birthday. And we believe that Daria will celebrate her majority being a healthy, beautiful, and self-confident girl.
Read Daria's review about the treatment:
There is the most kind, unique, bright-eyed person in the world. She is a Bookimed’s employee, Kateryna Koliko. She has been staying with us for 5 years. We have already passed 4 treatment stages. I can tell a lot about Kateryna Koliko. Her smile lights the world, her wisdom inspires, her achievements excite. She charges with optimism and courage; radiates warmth and love. Her eyes brighten the way. Her voice can calm and help to forget about all troubles. Her kindness is an example for everyone. Many thanks to you, Kateryna. I bow down to you. You are totally perfect. I wonder how nature could create such an ideal person. An amazing person. Let everyone believe that angels live in the heavens. But I know that there is one angel that lives among us -- this is you, Kateryna Koliko. You give hope in any situation. Your human understanding is heart-warming; it fills the heart with happiness and confidence. There is one more wonderful person at Galeazzi Istituto Ortopedico, Dr. Francesco Grecchi. He is a doctor with God-given talent. Many thanks for your humanity, professional support during the treatment. Many thanks for your being attentive, well-talented. Thanks a lot for your knowledge, efforts, advice, understanding, and kindness. I bow down to you and ready to thank you infinitely. Thank you for your unique hands that can cope with even the most difficult cases. Thanks for your kind heart, sincerity, and responsibility. Many thanks for your help and human approach. The hospital provides a unique research base, the highest service quality, medical staff’s professionalism, comfortable microclimate, healthy meals. Beautiful and sunny Milan.
The Italian Surgeon’s Present for the Guy from Ukraine
The guy from Ukraine requested Bookimed in 2018. Young man Volodymyr had been looking for a clinic to perform surgery for correction of severe scoliosis. Doctors in Ukrainian and foreign clinics, where Vova had addressed himself, refused to operate because of high risks. Except for the problems with spine, the man had congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension (the increased blood pressure within the arteries in the lungs). Vova experienced three surgical interventions on the heart. He was breathing through the tracheostoma (a hole in the neck) with the AVL apparatus at night for over 6 years.
Bookimed arranged a consultation at the Ortopedico Istituto Galeazzi in Milan, Italy. Firstly, Vova underwent a cardiologist’s survey. Then he saw Prof. Roberto Bassani, a spinal surgeon with over 20 years of experience. The Professor agreed to perform surgery.
In 2020, when the necessary sum for the treatment had been collected, Vova flew to Milan. The surgery was complex and continued for 16 hours. Volodymyr's story touched Dr. Bassani, and he helped with the arrangement of postoperative rehabilitation and allowed Vova’s mother to stay with the son despite the quarantine restrictions. When Vova was leaving the hospital, Dr. Bassani prepared a surprise: he presented a new portable AVL apparatus. The doctor knew that Vova’s old one had been broken.
After the hospital discharge, Dr. Bassani and his patient stay in touch. The doctor supports Vova, and always asks how he feels.
Read Vova’s review about the surgery:
Hi. Let me tell you about myself first.
I have got congenital heart disease. I had 3 surgeries, and then scoliosis started to progress fast. Then, I got a pulmonary hypertension diagnosis. Doctors in Ukraine refused to perform scoliosis surgery. I traveled to several countries, sent documents, and received the answer: an operation is very risky. I despaired. But I found the Bookimed site, wrote them, and explained my situation. I was redirected to the Bookimed coordinator, Paul. He was a very kind and supportive person, and I was very happy that he managed my case. First, Paul sent my documents to German hospitals, and they answered the same as others. Then, Italian Galeazzi Hospital received my documents. They said to come for a consultation. I flew there in 2018. I was met by coordinator Julia . She was a very kind and supportive person, too. First, I had a consultation with a cardiologist to find out whether I would handle an operation. They allowed me to perform surgery. I had a consultation with Dr. Bassani, and he agreed to the surgery as well. Also, he established an approximate treatment plan. Then, at home, I waited for the treatment plan and a preliminary bill.
It took 2 years to collect money. At least, I flew for surgery. During 2 weeks, I underwent all possible medical tests, and my treatment plan was changed. The surgery was performed. It was very complex and durable: surgery itself took 16 hours, I spent 2 weeks in the intensive care unit, and 2 more weeks in a hospital ward. I couldn’t start breathing myself, but I was getting better day by day. Then, I had been staying for a month at the rehab center. I started to breath myself just several days after my arrival to the center.
Now, I am at home, my rehabilitation continues, and I recover. Many thanks to all coordinators. They still stay in touch with me and ask how I feel. I am so grateful to the doctor who has given me a chance and the medical staff, who are very kind and supportive people. I didn’t even feel that I was at the hospital. There was such a great atmosphere and such a good attitude to patients.
In general, everything went well. I advise everyone to contact Bookimed and not to be afraid of having surgeries. They will pick for you the most suitable option in your case.
Thank you all for your attention, be healthy and happy!
Mission is Possible: Arranging Treatment during the Pandemic
In February 2020, we received a request from Angela. She underwent breast cancer treatment in Kazakhstan in 2017. In 2 years, the disease came back: doctors detected metastases in the spine during the medical investigation. Chemotherapy was prescribed as a treatment option. Angela started doubting the local doctors’ competence because of the disease relapse. So she decided to get a consultation with a foreign oncologist.
Bookimed suggested Angela to get a second opinion with a doctor from Turkey, and she agreed. After her medical records survey, the doctor recommended undergoing additional diagnostics in Turkey and established a preliminary treatment plan. The woman decided to fly to Turkey. While Angela was preparing documents for the trip, she received bad results of the blood tests and started feeling unwell. But things got more complicated: on the day of Angela’s departure in Istanbul, the 4th of March of 2020, the booked hospital informed us that they temporarily stopped receiving foreigners because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bookimed team immediately started searching for another clinic. Meanwhile, several hours had left before check-in, so a patient did not understand whether she needed to go to the airport or not. Finally, we found an open clinic for foreigners, and Angela took off.
During the flight, the woman’s blood counts were critically reduced, and she needed an immediate packed red blood cell transfusion. But when Angela landed at the Istanbul Airport, we were shocked: the clinic we had chosen also stopped receiving the foreigners. We understood that it was necessary to find another option immediately, but the quarantine restrictions made the situation unpredictable.
But we succeeded in finding another clinic — Liv Hospital. But on condition: Angela had to come within an hour, because this clinic was closing, too. Luckily, it turned out to be okay: the woman arrived at the hospital in time. She underwent diagnostics, received packed red blood transfusion, and doctors established the treatment plan for her. We are happy that the Bookimed team helped a patient solve her medical issue despite all difficulties.
Read Angela's review on diagnostics in Turkey:
I underwent diagnostics during the lockdown. Thanks a lot for the Bookimed assistant, Alexey. He was searching for clinics that could serve me at this difficult time. The first, and the second ones refused because of the quarantine, but Alexey continued to search for an option. Just several hours before the closure, Alexey booked Liv Hospital for me. Thanks a lot to coordinator Lala and the Medipol Hospital team. Highly skilled doctors work in these clinics — they are professors, explained everything, and were polite. A transfer was always available. Alexey and the ladies from Bookimed were in touch 24/7; they also booked a hotel for me. Highly recommend it!
About the Record during the Pandemic, Transformation, and Aims
Bookimed celebrated a new record during the COVID-19 pandemic when the medical tourism industry has gone through not the best times. Closed borders, strict restrictions, flight canceling —all these complicate treatment arrangements abroad. The Bookimed founders Eugene Kozlov and Eugene Hotyanov share their aims and vision on platform transformations.
In the spring of 2020, we couldn’t predict how the medical tourism market would work with all restrictions. But in summer, we were surprised that many patients wanted to have plastic surgery and recover until nobody saw them during the quarantine. And well-developed medicine for cancer patients was vital, so no difficulties didn’t stop people on their way to receive qualitative medical help. Patients confirmed that our product has remained in demand.
During the last year, we have focused on the project scoping. Now each clinic can “open” its medical solutions on the platform. And we provide access to these solutions for all patients worldwide, the ecosystem of honest reviews, and the objective choice.
Some visits are still canceled or postponed, but their number is trending down. The demand is growing, and the market is recovering much faster than the tourism sector. With this change, we're making the product for patients more mobile. Thus, we've changed basic communications from calls into messengers where we stay in touch with a person 24/7 for any issues. Unlike the way of communicating, our goal remains the same: "To provide access to the best medical solutions. For everyone.
500,000 patients’ requests — it’s a lot. This is 500,000 deeply analyzed medical cases. This is 500,000 treatment programs. The average clinic gains such experience for years. So, for the company and for me personally, such a number of requests means expertise, service quality growth, and the fulfilled expectations for half of a million of families.
What about the business, 500,000 patients is a number that shows its scope. It took 7 years to receive the first half a million requests, and it will take about 2 years to receive the second one. We watch the rapid growth of requests even during the lockdown. People's medical issues do not escape. On the contrary, they escalate because of isolation, depression, and the income decrease.
500,000 is just the beginning. We continue working to make world medicine accessible for everyone. Hope that medical tourism will erase boundaries for many people who want to receive affordable but qualitative medical assistance. Bookimed appreciates everyone who chooses us.