Hospital in India Charges $800 for Heart Surgery

| by Michael Allen
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A 'Narayana Hrudayalaya' health clinic in southern India is offering heart surgery for $800. This Indian medical center is "no frills," does not have air-conditioning and trains visitors in post-operative care, reports AFP.

“Today healthcare has got phenomenal services to offer. Almost every disease can be cured and if you can’t cure patients, you can give them meaningful life,” says Narayana Hrudayalaya founder Devi Shetty, who is also a well-known heart surgeon.

“But what percentage of the people of this planet can afford it? A hundred years after the first heart surgery, less than 10 percent of the world’s population can,” Shetty told AFP.

The first of these ultra-low cost clinics is in Mysore, about two hours from Bangalore, India. It was built for 7.4 million dollars. There are five operating rooms, including cardiac, brain and kidney procedures.

“Near Stanford [in the US], they are building a 200-300 bed hospital. They are likely to spend over 600 million dollars,” said Shetty. “There is a hospital coming up in London. They are likely to spend over a billion pounds. Our target is to build and equip a hospital for six million dollars and build it in six months.”

At Narayana Hrudayalaya, relatives or friends visiting patients undergo a four-hour nursing course and are expected to change bandages.

Much of the building was actually pre-built off site and then quickly assembled. Shetty’s first pioneering cardiac hospital opened in Bangalore, India in 2001.

About 30 heart surgeries are performed in the Bangalore, India, at a cost of $1,800. Poor people are treated for free.

Narayana Hrudayalaya works like Walmart, buying expensive items such as heart valves in bulk.

“Essentially, we realized that as you do more numbers, your results get better and your cost goes down,” he said.

“The current regulatory structures, the current policies and business strategies (for healthcare) that we have are wrong. If they were right, we should have reached 90 percent of the world’s population," added Shetty.

Source: AFP