Fire at Kalkata Hospital Kills 96 Patients

MedVacation Does not Send Medical Tourism Patients to India

We received a few inquiries through fan page on Facebook during the last a couple of days. We wish to inform you that MedVacation does not send patients to India at this time. There are several reasons why we choose not to work with clinics in India. One of the reasons is India's distance from the U.S. A trip to India requires over 18 hour flight and a visa. There are great medical facilities a short trip away from the U.S. that our medical team visited and evaluated. These clinics meet and often exceed safety standards we have for medical facilities in the U.S.

It is unfortunate what happened at Kalkata hospital. This incident raised many questions about safety standards of private and public medical hospitals in India. As with any accidents of this nature, this fire will certainly improve safety in Indian hospitals. It is our hope that this accident will not deter medical tourists from traveling abroad. Many great medical facilities continue to treat our clients and these clinics only a short flight away.

Read what our other clients have to say about working with MedVacation and our IVF clinics.


Indian hospital fire: Dark side of medical tourism
Jason Overdorf
December 16, 2011

If even one of India's shining new hospitals for the elite can be ravaged by fire, what can we expect from the crumbling government institutions for the poor?

For foreign "medical tourists" and a tiny fraction of the Indian elite, shining urban hospitals treat patients with the latest in diagnostic and surgical procedures. Multi-room suites and platinum waiting lounges rival five star hotels, or at least European airports, for opulence. But a recent hospital fire that killed 96 patients at Kolkata's AMRI Hospital shows just how hollow those institutions can be behind the facade, writes the Globe and Mail's Stephanie Nolen.

The "shocking truth about first world care" is as follows:

The hospital had no working sprinkler system, and no functioning smoke alarms. Staff had no fire training and many members fled when the blaze began in the early hours of the morning. Hospital management was storing diesel and other highly flammable materials in the basement – as fuel for generators, to cover for frequent power outages – as well as trash, much of which was also highly combustible, including boxes, gas cylinders, electric cable and old mattresses that released dense smoke when they went up in flames.

Shocking, yes. But isn't it a bit unseemly that it's somehow worse because it happened at a facility for the wealthy? A tragic fire at a crumbling government institution for the poor would be all too dog bites man for big headlines, I suppose. But the truth is that the two kinds of institutions are hopelessly interlinked, as I wrote awhile back in "the dark side of medical tourism."

The truth is that the availability of so-called "first world" care from these elite private facilities -- even at a heavy out of pocket cost -- has allowed the Indian government to ignore the disastrous condition of the health system.

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