Medical tourism emerging at Shetty hospital

| 13/10/2014

(CNS): While the Shetty hospital has treated several hundred local and regional patients, saved the life of a number of visitors the much anticipated medical tourism is also appearing to take shape after the hospital announced a successful hip replacement for a visiting American patient. Officials from Health City, Cayman said Michael Lepley undertook his own research and decided on the new hospital in East End for the surgery. Desperately in need of the procedure he set out to learn all he could about the availability of options in Asia, Latin America andelsewhere in the Caribbean before he "stumbled upon" Health City Cayman Islands on the Internet.

Lepley explained how he chose the hospital.

"First thing was how quickly I was contacted when I made an enquiry,” he said, adding that Joan Freedman the Patient Care Relations Manager responded almost immediately. This was followed by an hour-long conversation with Dr Alwin Santiago Almeida, the orthopedics and joint replacement surgeon who eventually performed the operation. "I have not had a five minute conversation with a doctor in the United States in five years, so I thought: 'This is a good start.'"

The fact that Health City provides a single quote in terms of cost so that patients do not have the additional stress of coping with post-operative medical bills was an added attraction for Lepley who said that meant he knew what the surgery and care were all going to cost up front. Having been a cruise ship visitor Lepley said, “I knew where it was – and where could you go to beat the Cayman Islands to recover for a couple of weeks?"

Lepley had his first hip replacement in the US while he was covered by company insurance, but as a retiree, he did not have medical coverage for his second replacement at Health City Cayman Islands. "It still cost me more five years ago in the United States to have this done – with insurance – than this whole trip is going to cost me. And that was out of my pocket, deductibles and everything else."

The financial savings made possible by Health City were significant for Lepley but he saw beyond the cost benefits. "I don't think that's the most important thing. This place is just unbelievable (and) the quality of care, the quality of facilities, equipment, the nurses, the technicians, the food, everything's just been top notch."

Unable to dive while he was here for his operation the American patient said he was however, looking forward to a return trip to the Cayman Islands for follow-up tests at Health City, when he will be able to swim. "It's been a tremendous experience for me," he added.
Lepley is exactly the type of patient that Dr Devi Shetty had spoken about attracting when he first presented the idea of his hospital to the government and the people of the Cayman Islands triggering the idea of medical tourism as a third leg of the economy.

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