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Doctors Attitude and Costs Plays a Vital Role in Boosting Medical Tourism in India

A leading Indian cosmetic surgeon, Narendra Pandya, says he foresees a dramatic rise in medical tourism to India because of not just the low costs involved but a more humane approach towards patients. //

"What we are seeing now (in medical tourism) is just the beginning. At the Apollo Victor hospital in Goa, where I do surgery, over 90 percent of the patients are British expatriates," Pandya, on a visit here, told IANS in an interview here.

While the lower costs in India were a major factor in attracting medical tourists, Pandya said there was also a difference in the approach to patients.

"In the US the patient is only a number. In the East, we are more involved with them as humans. It makes a difference."

Pandya said Indian physicians and surgeons treated a large number of patients, giving them a definite advantage over their American counterparts.

"An American surgeon for example will not be performing more than 15 cleft lip operations in an entire year. My resident-in-training in Mumbai performs more than 500 cleft operations in a year. Where is the comparison?"

"The on-the-job medical training in India is infinitely better. People in the US cannot grasp the quantum of work we do. We also have only 24 hours," he pointed out.

He said he was increasingly seeing more patients from the West flocking to India for treatment, such as dentistry, cosmetic surgery, joint replacements and eye surgery, given the low costs and the world class facilities available.

"A nose job costs $8,000 in the US while it cost $1,500 in India. If you trust me in Chicago for $8,000 dollars, how am I, as a physician, inferior in India?" he asked.

In fact, on this visit, Pandya had scheduled consultations with prospective patients in Boston, followed by similar consultations in London.

The desire for cosmetic surgery, said the surgeon, was "commensurate with affluence".
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