Thursday, March 22, 2007

Medical Tourism, Hospitals, Etc.

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 The figures may be outdated, but apparently you can get a bypass for $6,000 instead of ten times as much; a nose job for $2,000; hip replacement for around $4,300.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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Shyam Varan Nath said...

Very interesting story about Medical Tourism! Also see the details of the HealthCare Outsourcing and Medical tourism being held at Atlantic City, NJ in Sep 2007. Details at:
Shyam Varan Nath
Founder, Medical Excursions, Inc.

Vincent said...

India specializes not only in open heart surgery but also in a variety of complex medical procedures. A lot of people from the developed nations find India a much better option as compared to their very own country.Medical Tourism India

Subarna said...

Medical Tourism India is fast blossoming on account of its worldclass healthcare facilities at an astonishing affordable charge. Besides, medical tourists can heal themselves faster by spending their vacation at some of the most beautiful Indian tourist spots. The Indian hospitality is one of the prime reasons for the constant insurge of patients from across the world, thus contributing to the growth of the
medical tourism industry in India.

Arige Prakash said...

Has Anyone Actually Tried Medical Tourism? We've read about it, heard about it, and even talked about it. But how many of us know someone who has gone on a health vacation to India? Anyone ever come back from Thailand with a new hip? Is there any forum where real people can discuss real medical tourism issues.