Like many Americans, I was unable to qualify for health insurance due to a pre-existing condition (prolapsed mitral valve and atrial septal defect). Traveling for the care I needed started out solely as a financial consideration, but as I learned more, I realized that I would feel more confident about getting high-quality care overseas than I would here. So I traveled to Delhi, India, with my husband. I did research on the Internet, and I chose a treatment center that I thought was right for me.
My diagnosis was that I needed to replace the mitral valve and repair the hole between the chambers of my heart. An extraordinary team performed my surgery. Their English was flawless, because most Indian doctors have been trained in either the UK or US. My key surgeon is internationally known for his skill in the technique he used for my surgery.
I was in the hospital for four weeks. I had no problems there, but my trip home was very difficult, naturally, because the journey was so long and I didn’t have a lot of energy.
I have had lung issues since my return to the states. I live at an altitude of 7,500 feet, and the thin air here has taken a toll on me. My follow-up care is the same as if I had had my surgery at home, because my personal cardiologist looks after me, not the surgeon.
My total costs (including travel) were about 10 percent of what I would have paid here. I would absolutely travel abroad again for healthcare. The high level of care and supreme cleanliness cannot be found in most of the sadly understaffed hospitals in this country. The main thing for anyone considering healthcare in another country is do your research!
Last updated on 9 March 2013
Before Leaving the Hospital: Get All the Paperwork
Impatient to be gone, and often suffering the woozy side effects of surgery and post-operative pharmaceuticals, patients too often find themselves back at home later, missing important documents that could have more easily been obtained on site. So before you hightail it out of your hospital or clinic, be sure that you have all of your important documents.
Generally, larger hospitals provide complete medical documentation as part of the standard exit procedure. However, some smaller clinics may rely more on verbal instructions, and they are less likely to build and maintain a dossier on your case.