Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 20: Diasporic medical return: Korean immigrants’ use of homeland medical services
This chapter explores the phenomenon of migrants travelling back to their country of origin for health care. Specifically, we reflect on the nature of diasporic populations and their health care practices, situating our enquiry at the intersection of literatures on home, therapeutic spaces and health care consumption. We then examine the case of Korean immigrants to New Zealand making trips to their homeland to obtain medical operations. Using semi-structured in-depth interviews we focus on the question of why and how first generation Koreans in Auckland, New Zealand, seek medical services in their country of birth. Narratives yielded suggest that strong preferences for decisive and comprehensive treatment in culturally comfortable settings are revealed. The study highlights a particular link between health and place: that if financially able, immigrant patients from this diasporic population will seek not only effectively but also affectively satisfying medical care in their country of origin.
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