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Travel to India for Inexpensive Surgery

Travel to India for Inexpensive Surgery

Thursday March 08, 2012

It's a growing trend, Oklahomans jet setting to exotic locations such as Turkey, Mexico and Thailand - not for a vacation, but for surgery.

An Oklahoma woman saved tens of thousands of dollars -- and possibly her life -- through the booming industry of medical tourism.

Overweight most of her life and up to 350 pounds, Jan Neufeld knew she had to do something about it.

"When you're that heavy, you worry about things nobody else would think of," Jan Neufeld said. "You worry before you sit in a chair. Will that chair hold me?"

Neufeld knew she needed to have gastric bypass surgery, but she couldn't afford the $40,000 price tag here in Oklahoma. That's when a friend told Neufeld she could have the surgery done in India for about a quarter of the cost. And the results are astounding.

"It was scary to even think about it, but a light of hope," Neufeld said.

Hope for millions of people all over the world looking for less expensive ways to have heart, joint, even cosmetic surgery. In fact, medical tourism is a $100,000,000,000 industry worldwide.

More than 50 countries consider it part of their economy. After extensive research, Neufeld was sold. She hopped on a plane and took the 26-hour flight to Mumbai, India.

Known for its slums, she was impressed with the hospital and staff.

"Beautiful! Beautiful! Marble Floors," she said. "The doctors. They are so kind and gentle and they took such good care of me. After the surgery, I was afraid they didn't do it. I didn't have any pain."

While Neufeld didn't have any problems, the possibility concerns local bariatric surgeon Doctor Russell Gornichec.

"God forbid they have a complication on an 18-hour plane trip from Southeast Asia," Dr. Gornichec said. "Obviously that offsets any financial benefit they got."

Doctor Gornichec says before considering going to another country for surgery:

  • Make sure you get support from your primary care physician
  • Understand the risks
  • And know the names of local specialists who will see you for after-care, if needed

Now 185 pounds lighter, Neufeld says the risks were worth it.

"There is hope. So many people say they can't afford surgery," Jan said. "This surgery is the best thing that's happened to me. It's given me my life back."

Neufeld, her mom and two friends just returned from India for more surgery. It was Neufeld's third trip. This time, she had about 15 pounds of excess skin removed, because of her weight loss.

Appeared in NewsOn6.com

Tags: medical tourism, Thailand, gastric bypass surgery, Turkey, Mexico, India, international patients