Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Several bloggers (Babalu, Uncommon Sense) have discussed and linked to an odd website offering medical services in Cuba, with a partial price list for surgical procedures and a “tell us what is bothering you” response mechanism. I wrote, asked about the business, and got no answer.

“We are very good surgeons,” the website says, and it includes purported testimonials from patients who had spinal and heart bypass surgery.

Havana Hospital,” it says, is “the largest and most prestigious teaching hospital in Cuba;” it was featured in Michael Moore’s “Cannes Film Festival honored film SICKO,” and is “now open for Medical Tourism to Cuba.”

I don’t think there is any such thing as “Havana Hospital” in Havana. I do know that the hospital in the movie is the Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras, a huge, imposing building right on the Malecon. The website has photos – not of the hospital, but of a street scene with cocotaxis and the swimming pool at the Hotel Nacional.

There is nothing new about Cuba offering medical services to foreigners or promoting health tourism. Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona has gone there for drug rehab. In last week’s news, we saw that Trinidadian Prime Minister Patrick Manning returned from Cuba, where he had his pacemaker checked.

Havana Hospital” doesn’t seem to be a Cuban website. It doesn’t look or read like this one from Cubanacan or this one from Hermanos Ameijeiras itself. The site, in spite of the “testimonials,” is brand new; it was created on June 29, 2007, the day of “Sicko’s” general release in theaters. It is hosted by the American company It was registered by another American company, Domains by Proxy, Inc., which keeps the “Havana Hospital” people anonymous.

So what is “Havana Hospital?”

My guess is that it’s an attempt by people outside Cuba to capitalize on any interest in Cuban health care generated by “Sicko” by finding surgery patients, brokering services with Cuban hospitals, and handling hotel and travel arrangements from Mexico and Canada. And to do so through a pretty clumsy effort to portray themselves as “surgeons” in the hospital that we saw in the movie.

Caveat emptor.


Anonymous said...

Hip Resurfacing Surgery is indeed a miracle of modern medical science. Its a pity that this procedure till recently was not available in the United States. While surgeons at hospitals in India like the Wockhardt Hospitals Group which is a part of Harvard Medical International have been performed it on hundreds of patients with excellent outcomes.

The sensational thing about the high is indeed the cost, which is one sixth or eighth of that in the US, UK or Canda.Defenders of organized medicine are fond of saying that the United States has the best healthcare in the world, but I challenge that. I don't think we have the best healthcare in the world, I think we have the most expensive healthcare in the world. In fact, in terms of results for dollars spent, I think the United States ranks very near the bottom of quality medical care at the state of the art, internationally accredited hospitals the list of all industrialized nations. We get less actual health than anyone else for each dollar that we spend.

Last year one of my uninsured friends who was otherwise faced with the prospect of mortgaging her property to pay for hip surgery here chose to go to India for hip resurfacing surgery at Wockhardt Hospitals in Bangalore . I could not believe when i saw her walking flawlessly and her life has changed completely. She says she can't honestly say that we can't remember ever been taking care of us by so many nice, kind, and caring people as at Wockhardt Hospital in India. Just check out some amazing videos about real people talking about their experiences on the following weblink

Fantomas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fantomas said...

Peters porque hicistes eso?

It was a valid question?

Who are you working for?

Donal said...

I have to agree with the "Caveat emptor" warning above. Moore's movie at one point even showed Cuba's hospitals two lines lower than American ones which were already quite far down the list. For that reason and others I offer my

The Smoke Will Make you "Sicko!"

I never inhaled much of that blue "Sicko" smoke, but I admit I'm frightened for the patient's condition and second hand smoke is perhaps even more deadly than her habit. That's why I ducked out when I couldn't avoid it or when she went right on smoking even after I politely asked her to refrain. The "good doctor's" prescription, however, "Universal Health Care," is -- even as he admits -- pure socialism. He doesn't bat an eyelash when he speaks into his Dictaphone, "So, what's wrong with that?" He's like a doctor at an autopsy dictating as he dissects a blackened, charred lung filled with tumors, "What lovely assets this woman has."

Our patient will no doubt lose a lung even if she does the right thing at this late stage, because the cancer is spread too far. And it would save her life even as drugs and medicine prices would fall. If the surgery is undertaken, intensive care will be critical because there appears to only be one man running for President who would take us back to our Constitution. Complicating the risk, however, are alarming blood pressure levels scoffing laws, and especially her own Constitution. Nevertheless, this kind of cancer always requires a knife if she's to live. But if she decides we should have socialized medicine, we should at least amend her Constitution first so that people retain proper respect for the law instead of scoff all law.

I don't want to sound like a doomsayer, because whether she takes the cure or not, I'm going to live. My business, "America's Medical Solutions," (, is going to thrive whether she takes or refuses the surgery. Presently, her tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free of the blue haze have been getting on airplanes and coming to India to take advantage of our prices and world-class medicine. And they're getting well! Kathy told me that she's out walking through parks and running the paddle boats after about five years of being without insurance and financially as well as literally bed ridden. So, even if socialized medicine becomes law, I'll live because then the rich, just like in Canada, will simply insure that the tired, poor, huddled masses are become the wretched refuse of her teeming hospitals, while the rich will be enjoying India's services instead. If socialism was undone in America, one lung removed, India would still be cheaper and better prepared than we are in America. Yes, the knife hurts, but it would at least save Miss Liberty's life.

Alas, at age 62, my friend the Health & Accident General Agent quit paying his premiums when they reached $1,600 per month for only him and his wife. The $38,000 he saved in the last two years, now at age 64, enabled him to easily pay the $10,000 his hip resurfacing cost him at Wockhardt Hospital here in Mumbai, India. What's more, he didn't have to pay the $5,000 deductible, and the surgery at his choice of hospital in the States was quoted at $105,000. He figures he's saved at least $80,000. What's even more humiliating is that his doctor in the States is starting out fresh, having never done a hip resurfacing job so far. It was only admitted by the Food & Drug Administration in the last few months. His doctor here in India has done thousands in several years. He said, "Like I'd rather trust my car to the learned old garage mechanic than the freshman out of auto mechanics school, when it's my body, I want the tried and tested. Plus the savings. Heh, he, he, heh!"