Canada highlights birth tourism risk for doctors

Canadian doctors cautioned on legal risk of providing birth tourism services. Canadian Medical Protective Association warns doctors about the legal risks of providing medical services to Chinese birth tourists.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association has warned doctors about the legal risks of providing medical services to Chinese birth tourists going to Canada to have babies to get Canadian citizenship for their newborns.

CMPA says, “Canadian doctors who provide care to non-residents are at increased risk of medical-legal difficulties arising outside of Canada, and CMPA is not structured to assist when medical-legal actions are instigated by non-residents outside of Canada.”

The CMPA is the legal defence organization for doctors; it provides and pays lawyers and settlements when doctors are sued for malpractice by Canadian patients.

CMPA warns that doctors should ensure foreign patients sign agreements promising not to sue outside of Canada and they should also make sure they fully document discussions with non-residents and the care provided to them.

The CMPA uses its discretion when deciding whether to assist doctors with legal actions started by foreign patients. The care provided in Canada must be for an emergent or urgent circumstance or care not available in the patient’s own country or in other exceptional circumstances. It will not give assistance to doctors who directly or indirectly offer treatment of non-resident maternity patients through medical tourism.

There is an increasing number of non-residents having their babies in Canadian hospitals and over twenty birth houses where pregnant women stay prior to, and after, the births of their babies, before returning to China.

Birth tourism brokers offers services including finding Mandarin-speaking doctors to deliver babies. Numbers are growing but hospitals are secretive about numbers and their involvement, fearing a backlash from the powerful Canadian medical trade unions, governments and local patients.