We as a people seem adverse to criticism even when there is an element of altered truth in it. President Obama is a patriot and is trying his best to save US economy and at the same time provide a semblance of welfare state which will look after the poor and uninsured population. His comment that Americans should seek quality medical aid in the US and not go to India or Mexico where quality is not assured was not well received. Naresh Trehan came on the national media and declared that his results are better than the ones from Cleveland clinic. No one disputes men like Naresh Trehan or Devi Shetty who have built institutions of excellence where
American medical tourists are looked after at one tenth of the cost.
My simple question is, are all our private sector hospitals maintaining the same standards of quality? How many of them have mortuary facilities, do clinico pathological meetings where unexplained deaths are discussed, how many hospitals have facility for direct transcription of case notes as they are being made to the patient’s designated relative? How many hospitals can say with confidence that their case records are never fudged? My experience with corporate hospitals varies from utter mediocrity to excellence. It is also important to realize that the American/foreign patients who come to india are those who compete with the upper crust of Indians who can afford these hospitals and willy nilly are responsible for driving the costs of the care up.
What about the rest of us Indians? Where do they go? There are NGO/ religion run hospitals which provide excellent care at reasonable cost but these too cannot cope with the demand. The poor have no other option but to seek help at our sate run health services. That is another sordid story. So when Obama says quality is suspect he spoke in general terms and was not meaning one or two odd good quality hospitals.