Book your flight for some Indian hospitality

If you’re looking for a reason to visit India, let me tell you about one of the biggest tourist attractions inApollo_hospital_chennai Humor Column my homeland. It has bright lights, talented performers and theatres that will put you in stitches. Yes, I’m talking about Apollo Hospital in Chennai, which has hundreds of fluorescent lights, well-trained doctors and several operating theatres.

Hey, you may not be in Paris, but at least you’ll be in plaster of Paris.

Actually, it depends on what procedure you’re having done. You can do almost anything at Apollo, except go to the moon. You can have your heart bypassed, your knee replaced, your face lifted and your wallet lightened.

It’s called medical tourism, the reason hundreds of thousands of people fly to India every year. And you thought they were heading there for jobs! Well, only a few of them are.

Thirty-year-old man: “First my job went to India, now I’m going to India for a job.”

Friend: “What kind of a job?”

Thirty-year-old: “A nose job. I’ve wanted to get one for a long time.”

Friend: “Really? How much will it cost?”

Thirty-year-old: “I don’t know the exact figure. But I’m certain of one thing: I won’t be paying through the nose.”

Apollo Hospital in Chennai is just one of a number of hospitals in India that are catering to foreign patients. If you need a major procedure done, you can probably do it faster and less expensively in India. And while you’re recovering from the procedure, you can do some great sightseeing. You’ll be surprised how much you can see through the window of a hospital room. If you’re lucky, a couple of monkeys may even swing by. And no, I’m not talking about any of my relatives.

Of course, you can do a lot more sightseeing once the bandages are off. You can go on guided tour, for example, of the hospital lobby. You can meet other patients and hear their complaints about the healthcare systems in America, Canada, Britain and elsewhere.

American: “It would have cost me $45,000 to get a hip replacement in America. Here it’s only $15,000, including airfare, accommodation and a T-shirt that says ‘I went to India and got hip.’”

Canadian: “I would have spent five years waiting for a new kidney in Canada. Here it took me just five days, including the time I spent standing in line at the kidney outlet.”

Actually, you’ll probably spend much of your recovery outside the hospital, perhaps even at a five-star beach resort. Yes, you can recover in style –- and still save as much as 80% of the medical cost in America. You can return home well-healed –- and still somewhat well-heeled.

Of course, you should make sure you have a top-notch doctor, that Dr. Venkatasubramaniam at Apollo Hospital in Chennai is as qualified as Dr. Venkatasubramaniam at St. Francis Hospital in New York. Just keep an open mind and you might find a great surgeon in India, one who works hard to keep his patients as happy as his banker.

If you still have reservations, that’s okay. With so many people heading to India for medical treatment, you may not be able to get a room at a hospital without reservations.

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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Comments

  1. Fine wine! Great to read a satire on your blog after a while. Apollo also happens to be one of the few healthcare systems in India that’s started outsourcing medical transcription work within India. May be that’s why it’s called HIP-AA (Hip American Administration) compliant!

  2. Actually, there really was a Dr. Venkatasubramaniam at Apollo when I worked there, ages ago 🙂

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