Medical Tourism on the Rise Despite Superbug Reports

Indian doctor Praveen Chandra checks on an American patient Greg Goodell from Iowa after a his successful heart operation at a hospital in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006. With an estimated 45 million uninsured or underinsured Americans, some 500,000 trekked overseas last year for medical treatment, according to the National Coalition on Health Care. Asian hospitals have long been swarmed by medical tourists looking for tummy tucks and face lifts, but now many of the marble, resort-style facilities are gaining reputations for big-ticket procedures including heart surgery, knee and back operations. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Operators managing health tourists in India have their hands full these days. Patients from the Western countries in need of surgery are travelling to India in large numbers in the last quarter of the calendar year, so that they can be well during Christmas and New Year celebrations, according to doctors and executives at medical tourism companies.

This is despite reports of high levels of ‘superbugs’ in and around some Indian hospitals.

Confirming the trend, Dr Arun Kumar, CEO of Mediescape, a medical tourism company, told Business Standard the number of overseas travellers coming for treatment to India has risen since the beginning of October. These are mostly high-end health tourists and are coming from the US, UK and Europe. “We are fully booked till December, as patients want to be in the best of health around year-end festivities,” he said.

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