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With U.S. health care reform in question, the number of Americans seeking medical care at one Indian hospital triples.
However many Americans, whose only exposure to India comes from films like "Slumdog Millionaire," still shudder at the suggestion of going to India for treatments. Its crowded airports, garbage-strewn streets and poverty-ridden slums do not inspire confidence. Every top-class Indian hospital has a story to tell about an American patient who chickened out just before boarding the flight to India.
“You hear a lot about the poverty and grime, I didn’t have a very high opinion,” admitted Seaver-Davis, who initially considered getting his knee replacement done in Costa Rica or Singapore.
But he found the success rates in Costa Rica questionable and Singapore much more expensive. When he discovered that Wockhardt has an association in India with the global arm of Harvard Medical School, he was comforted. The low infection rates at Indian hospitals finally clinched it.
The cost savings, sometimes up to 90 percent, are increasingly swaying the opinion of American employers who are buffeted by the latest economic downturn, says David Boucher, CEO of Columbia, S.C.-based medical outsourcing service provider Companion Global Healthcare.
Companion’s business focus is almost entirely employer-centric and the firm works with 280 employers in 19 states. Though many Americans are delaying elective surgery for fear of losing their jobs if they take several weeks off from work, the trend is just turning. “I expect medical outsourcing traffic to increase in the next two quarters,” Boucher said.
At Wockhardt Hospital, a ship-shape island of calm on the noisy, traffic-clogged Bannerghatta Road, Seaver-Davis is in an upbeat mood. Getting to India has been one of the best medical decisions of his life, he said.
As if to stamp approval on his India adventure, Seaver-Davis is lengthening his stay. He will get extensive dental work done on his hyper-sensitive teeth at the hospital, again at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. “Beyond the competence of the doctors and the pretty smiles of the nurses, the compassion and empathy is all very real here,” he said.
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