By Jerry Mead, Pekin, IN 

“India??  Are you kidding?”  That was the common response to my plan to have both my hips replaced in India. 

By the end of 2007, it was very apparent that I need a bilateral hip replacement to resolve my two-year onset of osteoarthritis.  My career in carpentry was over, and all attempts at financing for the surgery in the States were without success.  I was quoted a price for hip replacement at $30,000 per hip, and that's just the surgeon's fee.

I heard a program on National Public Radio about people getting surgery abroad at a much reduced price.  They mentioned World Med Assist, located in California, headed up by Wouter Hoeberechts.  After exhausting all possibilities here, I contacted WorldMed Assist and asked what was available to me. 

There are several countries from which I could choose, but I'd wanted to go to India since I was 16 and first began to meditate.  I hadn't planned to go as a patient, but God has mysterious ways.  WorldMed Assist gave me a choice of a hospital in New Delhi or Bangalore.  Both were accredited through Harvard Medical, had several surgeons trained and certified in America or Europe, and use the latest in prostheses, techniques and technology.  I chose Wockhardt Specialty Hospitals in Bangalore, which caters to local clientele as well as international guests.

World Med Assist scheduled my surgery and transportation to and from Bangalore.  I left Louisville on April 2, and with the 10-hour time change, arrived in Bangalore on April 4.  At each of the four airports, I was greeted by an assistant and wheelchair to get me to my next gate.  A driver from the hospital met me in Bangalore to take me to the hospital, where I was admitted into a very nice private room with my own computer and television, shower and restroom. 

The next day, I was given a battery of tests:  x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, echocardiogram, blood work and urinalysis, along with a detailed health screen:  All very thorough and complete.  I then met my surgeon and his team.  Everything is done as a team:  anesthesiologists, surgeon, post op staff, dietitians, and rehab therapists.  Everyone was extremely warm, comforting and welcoming.

Then off to surgery on my right hip.  After three days in ICU, I had surgery on my left hip April 10, followed by another three more days in ICU.  WorldMed Assist stayed in touch with my medical team and relayed information home about my progress until I was transferred to my private room. 

My nursing care was excellent:  Not once did I have to wait longer than a minute after pushing the call button for someone to check on me.

My rehab began as soon as the drain tubes and catheter were removed.  Because of my post-op pain, they decided to reduce rehab until my pain settled down a bit.  Everyone, without exception, showed a personal interest in every aspect of my recovery. 

Unlike in the U.S., my dressings were changed by doctors, not nurses.  My surgeon and members of his team saw me every other day. 

It's important when traveling abroad for treatment to remember that you are a visitor in someone else's home.  Don't go with the attitude that you are the big American with tons of demands.  I didn't ask for a thing, and I got everything.  I mean that.  I was treated so well and with such kindness, I could not have asked for more. 

I returned home on April 28th after 24 days.  I was given copies of all my x-rays and CT scans as well as a total report of all my treatment there.My cost of traveling there and back, spending 24 days in a very nice private room and having both hips replaced plus an additional CT scan ($300) was about $18,750.  Quite a difference from what it costs in the U.S.  I would recommend it to anyone. 

One note:  You have to wire your money ahead of time, unlike our system of treatment first, pay later.  So it is a bit of a leap of faith.  But do your homework, go through a reputable medical facilitator like World Med Assist and read all the reviews and reports on the hospital and surgeon you select for surgery.  I had wonderful results and now am looking forward to the rest of my life. 

My experience in Bangalore was heartwarming and rebuilding.  I will never forget those kind and wonderful people and will return someday to express my gratitude.

For more information, please visit the following links:

medical tourism

Hip replacement India

Orthopedic surgery abroad

Medical Tourism testimonials