Dick Gordon has a program produced at North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC – entitled The Story. There was an interesting item on his program recently about a man who had no health insurance but who needed open heart surgery. Apparently the man found a hospital in New Delhi, India that was willing to perform the operation for a small fraction of the amount charged by hospitals in this country. Listen to that story, Outsourcing Healthcare, and more here.
This story, as you can imagine, interested me a lot. So far I don’t have a diagnosed medical problem, but I smoked for a long time and being a realist I feel that a stay in the hospital may be in my future. I don’t know if I would want to go to India to have surgery. Fortunately I have hospital insurance, which presumably would cover most of my hospital expenses. I realize I still might have to pay a considerable amount of money beyond what the insurance would cover, but I suppose I would still choose a hospital in the United States.
U.S. News and World Report published a list of the best hospitals in the country. Within that list is a ranking of the best hospitals for different specialties, including heart surgery. Apparently the best of the best is the Cleveland Clinic. (I find it interesting that most of the major heart centers are found in places like Cleveland which, as far as I know, is not known as a center of vegetarianism.)
I don’t know who would seriously consider medical tourism. For those of you who would, maybe you can find more information here. This hospital is supposed to be the best one in India. It may be the one where the man who was interviewed by Dick Gordon went, I’m not sure. The figures may be outdated, but apparently you can get a bypass for $6,000 instead of ten times as much; a nose job for $2,000; hip replacement for around $4,300. I don’t know – this is looking better. This place provides a real comprehensive service. They provide an escort to stay with you until full recovery. They have package deals which enable you to sightsee throughout the country. Check out their tour packages. Here is some more. And here is a page on cardiac care. Wow. It sounds really cool. I might go for a hip replacement or a knee replacement. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just go to India for a vacation. I don’t have to get major surgery and a tour guide, even though it is tempting. It’s funny how appealing things can appear online.
Medical tourism, for me, may involve nothing more bold than going to Duke Hospital if I ever need major surgery instead of going to one of the hospitals in Raleigh, where I live. Duke is twenty-some miles down the road and that is a long enough trip for me. Besides, it is supposed to be the seventh best hospital in this country for heart surgery, better even than the one where President Clinton had his bypass operation. So right now I am thinking Duke, even though I am not particularly partial to their basketball team. But I will not tell them that if I ever need to go to their hospital. In fact, maybe I’ll buy a Duke Blue jersey to wear over there. And who knows, if I ever need an operation, and if it is successful, and if I come back home alive, then maybe I would finally become a Duke fan after all. Stranger things have happened . . . .
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