Although India is a developing country, generating skepticism among cynics for safety, many Americans receive healthcare that is above American standards. A common misconception is that medical tourism in India is a new topic when in fact, medical tourism began in the 1970s. Participating hospitals existed in Bombay and New Delhi and the big gains that Americans acquired by traveling to India was spread by word of mouth. Currently, the internet provides a massive amount of marketing for medical tourism in India.
Many people are skeptical of the care that they will receive in a nation that has acquired a mountain of problems from HIV to malaria. Bradley Thayer, a 60-year-old retired farmer was in calamitous need of practical healthcare when he fell and injured himself, however, Thayer did not have any health insurance, a common problem among Americans. U. S. doctors stated that Thayer would necessitate healthcare that could cost nearly $30,000 USD, which was not sensible for a man without healthcare. Thayer opted for a cheaper alternative in Asia.
According to Talwar, “it’s the latest in outsourcing – Asian doctors study in the United States or Britain, acquire their skills and reputations in hospitals there, then take them back to their home countries and wait for the business to come to them“ (Talwar). Whilst Thayer decided on Bombay, India, his friends and family urged him not to go insisting that “they’ll cremate you along the Ganges” (Talwar). However, despite his family’s concern, Thayer went along with the surgery and is doing quite well.
Companies such as Vedic India arrange hotel stays at affordable rates and simultaneously check private hospitals where surgeries are performed for foreign patients. Private hospitals are the best in all of India. These hospitals are used by India’s wealthy as well as foreigners experiencing the medical tourism aspect of India. One such hospital named Escorts, a state of the art facility equipped with well educated physicians, is run by its founder Dr. Trehan, a former Manhattan surgeon who decided to revert back to his homeland in India.
Trehan states that “our surgeons are much better and although they are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, hospitals such as Escorts typically are able to charge far less than their U. S. and European counterparts because pay scales are much lower and patient volumes higher” (Lancaster). Vedic India also encourages all of their participants to not just rely on the exterior appearance of a hospital online, but to contact the physicians as well.
Many of the physicians are very concerned about their potential patients just as patients are worried about the quality of care that they will be receiving, therefore, physicians encourage potential patients to call with questions and concerns before booking surgery or treatment. Despite the innovative medical tourism industry positively effecting those whom opt for more affordable medical care, Indian residents are not receiving medical care while tourists receive the maximum coverage.
Programs concurrent with the government are apparently engaging more concentration into appealing to foreign tourists for medical services versus implementing affordable yet eminent healthcare for impoverished communities and those whom desperately need medical care due to debilitating diseases. Dr. Samiran Nundy, a gastrointestinal surgeon in New Delhi states that its up to the government to help the people of India with its intense need for medical reform.
He also states that the government should become pay more attention to improving the national health of India’s people instead of capitalizing on medical tourism by enticing foreigners to visit for a quick surgery followed by a convalescent visit to the Taj Mahal while its people are dying by the thousands of tuberculosis, which is a radically simple disease to prevent (Gentleman). This debilitating situation can be viewed first-hand in an HBO documentary, Pandemic: facing AIDS, which allows viewers to observe the lifestyles and hardships of being infected with the terminal disease AIDS.
In the documentary, a rural young Indian couple would like to conceive a child despite the fact that one of them is already infected, which could potentially spread the disease to their unborn child. During their struggle to conceive without passing on the virus to their child, AIDS medication was not provided under the government which aided in the couple’s struggle to obtain medication to hinder the disease’s progression.
AIDS medication in India is not inexpensive or easy to come by and consequentially, the couple was thus forced to travel hours away in order to seek medical attention. Additionally, an neighboring support group for men with AIDS was able to raise funds to ultimately provide much needed medication. Available treatment for life-threatening conditions are not easily tangible or reasonable by Indian nationals , however, many foreigners are able to click a mouse to access the most reputable and affordable care in the entire nation.
For instance, Carlos Gislimberti, a 60 year old American without health insurance was facing death after a 3rd heart attach post a triple-by-pass surgery. After contacting his doctor, a surgery to correct his persistent heart problem would cost an upward amount of approximately $150,000, which would require him to sell his business. The total cost of the surgery in New Delhi, including a 20 day hotel stay, was $10,000. Carlos said that his wife performed a Google search for heart surgery in 20 days later, he was healed (Gentleman).
The major problems behind the domestic health crisis in India is the private sector of health. Foreign patients’ procedures are conducted in private facilities which deprives mainstream healthcare finances from aiding the overall system. Coincidentally, even rich people in India are going private when they seek medical treatments which consequentially relieves the government of pressure to provide necessary healthcare reforms that are needed to improve the system (Gentleman).