Five-star treatment

Jaspal Bhatti

MY friend Suchcha Singh asked me what the term "medical tourism" meant. I told him that it was new concept aimed at attracting foreigners to our hospitals. Indian hospitals would be made so attractive that people from all over the world would come here. Suchcha Singh asked me, "Are we going to convert our finest five star hotels into hospitals?" I said, "No, we are going to convert our hospitals into five-star hotels."

Suchcha Singh exclaimed, "That means we are going to make hotels on the medical theme where beautiful nurses and well-behaved doctors will serve the finest of wines and the choicest of dishes to the customers".

I snubbed him. "Suchcha Singh, the doctors in the hospital will operate on the patients and not serve food".

He was confused, "Tourists will be patients?" I explained, "Yes, now you get the point. Medical treatment is very exorbitant abroad. We will offer cheaper and better medicare to foreigners".

Suchcha Singh seemed to appreciate the idea, "We can offer attractive package deals too. Say if the operation is successful, then sight seeing to places like the Golden Temple or the Taj Mahal can also be included. If the operation fails, then the last rites at Hardwar or Kiratpur Sahib could be made free". I joined in his enthusiasm, "You just wait and see. Many more innovative offers will start pouring in from the international market". Suddenly, Suchcha looked worried. "As an Indian will I be able to get treatment in these hospitals then?" I reassured him. "Donít worry. You can apply for permanent immigration to Canada and if you become a Canadian citizen, you can come back as an NRI patient."