India Paves the Way for a Healthy Heart

More reasons to choose medical tourism packages

The prohibitive costs of complex cardiac procedures like heart bypass surgery in the US have contributed to the growth of medical tourism packages to countries like India and Thailand. According to a new study by Harvard Medical School researchers, ER wait times for heart attack patients are increasing steadily. A heart attack patient in a waiting room can expect to wait for – are you ready for this – fifty minutes or more before getting to see a doctor.

Why Not Wait for a Health Vacation

This delayed response to heart attack patients is worrying to the researchers who point to the need for swift responses to heart attack patients. Due to the very nature of the problem which worsens with every minute, heart attack patients are at an increased risk by such delays. What’s worse is that the wait times have increased steadily over the last decade. According to the study, heart attack patients who only needed to wait 8 minutes in 1997 (on an average) could expect to wait 20 minutes in 2004. That’s an increase of 150 percent.

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Waits were also slightly longer for Black, Hispanic and female patients. The reason for such delays is not hard to spot – emergency room care is a money pit for US hospitals. In fact, according to the American Health Association the number of hospitals operating ED’s has decreased by 12 percent between 1994 and 2004. The money spinners for these hospitals are the elective patients who need surgeries, because they can be prescreened for insurance.

Health Vacation Critics

Critics of medical tourism packages are quick to raise a hue and cry when elective money spinning procedures move off shore to countries like India, but are strangely silent when it comes to other appalling facts about their country’s health care system. It’s clear that it’s more than just the cost of procedures like heart bypass surgery that’s leading patients “bypass” US health care.

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