Cheap Medical Care in
By Ramola Talwar Badam, Associated Press Writer
September 24, 2005
Bradley Thayer, a retired
apple farmer from
Thayer, 60, had no health
insurance when he fell and injured himself while summering in
It's the latest in
outsourcing — Asian doctors study in the
"Flying halfway around the
world is cheaper," said Thayer, beaming from his
He had never been to
"My friends and relatives
said I was crazy. They said, 'they'll cremate you along the
But he already felt
familiar with Asian doctors. "In
So far, news has spread largely by word of mouth, or on Web sites set up by patients to extol their Indian experiences and become vocal proponents. Now the Indian government is getting behind it, offering one-year medical visas extendable for an additional year, and organizing exhibitions abroad to advertise Indian hospitals.
It is also planning to
create a list of recommended hospitals. That's important because while
"Many foreigners are still
not completely convinced about
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Mohan Thomas, a member of the government's council for medical tourism, says foreign patients need to choose carefully.
"Check the doctor's credentials, the hospitals he is attached to and, most important, see some work he has done," advises Thomas. "Check how much effort the hospital takes with cleanliness starting with the bathroom."
He says 25 percent of his
patients are from overseas, primarily
Invariably they go to the best private hospitals and stay in high-end private rooms, which are on usually on different floors from the cheaper general wards.
"It's always the poor who
suffer whether in
Robert Carson, 46, says he pulled out of hip replacement surgery the
evening before it was scheduled in a
A TV program about a new
treatment — hip resurfacing — convinced him the procedure was less
invasive and promised more mobility since the bone was shaved and not cut
as in a traditional hip replacement. The procedure is not offered in
"I'd come back in a minute
even if costs were equal to the
He had found his American
doctors stingy with information, whereas "the doctor here was very
communicative. He told me what could go wrong and what he's done before,"
Many doctors give their patients their home and cell-phone numbers and encourage them to call with questions.
The absence of long waiting lists also draws patients.
"I could have had total hip replacement done in the States for nothing because I have a health plan. But I found it worth it to come here. I didn't want to stand in line," said Gordon Deboo, a retired NASA research scientist.
Deboo, 73, from
In some cases, entire families travel with the patient.
"My daughter and son-in-law
came with us. They didn't trust us," said Edna Harsha, a 59-year-old
school bus driver from
She lay in a hospital room
with a commanding view of the Arabian Sea, looking at photographs of
Couples from the
Dr. Firuza Parikh, a leading infertility specialist, said she generally asks women to plan to stay for two IVF cycles, or two months. They stay in hotels or rent apartments.
"The husbands usually come for a shorter period and we freeze the sperm," she said.
In vitro fertilization can
cost $20,000 in the
Thayer, the retired farmer,
has a suggestion for
Selected Industry News Items | Home Page | Washington Post, Oct 21, 2004 | The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 26., 2004 | BusinessWeek, Feb. 16, 2004 | The Times of India, Feb. 14, 2004 | India Today, Nov. 24, 2003 | The New york Times, May 18, 2003 | CBS News, 60 Minutes, Apr. 25, 2005 | TIME Magazine, May 29, 2006 | The State, Feb. 10, 2007 | Wall Street Journal, Mar. 8, 2007 | The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 19, 2008 | The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 26, 2008 | The New York Times, Mar. 10, 2008 | The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2008