Three Hip Replacements in India for Two Americans = $130,000 Savings, Thanks to Medical Tourism Company WorldMed Assist

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While political candidates argue about health care reform, Americans are taking matters into their own hands. Jerry Mead of southern Indiana and Robert Lupo of northern California ended up next door neighbors at Wockhardt Hospital in Bangalore, India for hip replacements--Lupo had one hip replaced, Mead had surgery on both hips. During their recuperation, the two became friends, and plan to stay in touch since their recent returns to the U.S. Together, they saved $130,000.

I needed both my hips replaced, and had been unsuccessful getting any kind of financing to pay what it would cost in the U.S. Through a relative, I tried to arrange the surgery in southern India, but that hospital never even got back to me

Jerry Mead and Robert Lupo both made their careers in construction, but apart from that, had little else in common. Until April, that is, when they found themselves next door neighbors at internationally accredited Wockhardt Hospital in Bangalore, India, both recuperating from hip replacement surgery. WorldMed Assist, a medical tourism company based in Concord, CA, made all medical and travel arrangements for both Mead and Lupo at a combined savings of $130,000, but never imagined the two would pair up.

"They're as different as night and day," said WorldMed Assist CEO Wouter Hoeberechts. "Jerry lives in southern Indiana (Pekin), Robert is from northern California (Santa Rosa); Robert is a funny, out-there guy; Jerry is someone who is very interested in the spiritual traditions of India. Who'd have known they'd become friends in a hospital in India, a place that only a few months earlier neither had imagined as a destination for surgery."

Mead discovered medical tourism while listening to an NPR story that featured Kevin Stewart, the first American to go to India for a liver transplant, arranged by WorldMed Assist. He liked the idea of a company matching a patient's needs with doctors and hospitals already vetted for quality, surgical skills and high standards. "I needed both my hips replaced, and had been unsuccessful getting any kind of financing to pay what it would cost in the U.S. Through a relative, I tried to arrange the surgery in southern India, but that hospital never even got back to me," he said.

After the NPR show, Mead called WorldMed Assist, and in no time, they presented him with a set of options for surgery abroad. "I appreciated the informed choices I was given by WorldMed Assist and the information on the hospitals, surgeons, treatment overviews and quotes of pricing. It was all very helpful," Mead said. "Once I researched these choices and made my decision, I was scheduled and on my way to Wockhardt Hospital in Bangalore, India." Mead was comforted to know that Wockhardt is JCI accredited and an affiliate hospital of Harvard Medical International.

Lupo heard about medical tourism companies through a couple of friends, and spent months trying to arrange his own trip, finally landing on India as the country offering the best price and highest quality. But he soon became frustrated trying to narrow down the choices for affordable surgery abroad: which hospital, which surgeon, what travel documents, how to get to the hospital. Just before "throwing my computer out the window in frustration," Lupo decided he needed help from a company specializing in medical travel. "The first one I contacted wanted to book me a frilly vacation along with the surgery. I'm self employed, so getting there, having the surgery, and getting back to work was my top priority. I then found WorldMed Assist, and I liked them right off the bat because they really understood what I wanted. They took a personal interest in me," said Lupo.

Hip pain had rendered both Lupo and Mead unable to work in the months leading up to their surgeries.

Mead recalls: "I had osteoarthritis that developed over the last couple of years, and became especially bad the last three months. The last job I did was laying ceramic tile, which I had did mostly on my stomach due to the pain in my legs. When I walked, I looked like a cross between a duck and a penguin."

Lupo's pain caused him to quit in the middle of a construction job. "My hip just said, 'No more!' I couldn't even get up the stairs." Three weeks later, with WorldMed Assist's help, he was in India.

Neither man ever imagined joining the swelling ranks of medical travelers. "I'd been all over the U.S. on my motorcycle, but I'd never been on an airplane," Lupo said. And Mead had never been in a hospital other than as a visitor. They were both well-prepared by WorldMed Assist about what to expect at each stage of their journey, so there were no surprises. "I was picked up at the airport and driven right to Wockhardt Hospital--which was very modern and clean. They put me through a bunch of tests right away, then set up my surgery for the following day. Everything that WorldMed Assist told me was exactly as advertised," Lupo said.

WorldMed Assist helped Lupo reduce his expense from $50,000 in the U.S. to $10,000, which included all his travel, medical and physical therapy expenses, "and even a colonoscopy that I'd been putting off," he smirked.

Mead's total for bilateral hip replacement was $17,000, which included a 24-day stay in the hospital with around-the-clock care. Mead never had a quote for surgery in the U.S., but $120,000 would not be unusual for the extent of his surgery and therapy.

Both men were very impressed with their surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Pai, who had done more than 3,500 joint replacements before they arrived. Lupo's recovery amazed everyone at the hospital. "They could never find me because I was bopping all over the hospital," he said. He was often next door, visiting Mead, whose recovery from double hip replacement was naturally slower and more painful.

Of his frequent visitor, Mead said, "Bob's life is very different from mine, but we had our profession and our surgeries to bring us together. We were right next door to each other, so it was easy to bond. We're still in touch now that we're both back home."

About WorldMed Assist
Experts in medical tourism, WorldMed Assist's mission is to improve lives by helping patients receive high quality medical treatment abroad at affordable prices. WorldMed Assist (http://www.worldmedassist.com) coordinates and simplifies every aspect of medical care and travel. Waiting times are virtually eliminated, track records are proven, and facilities are state-of-the-art. For more information, on hip replacement surgery in India, visit http://www.worldmedassist.com/Total_Hip_Replacement_Surgery_India.htm.

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