State of the Heart: A Medical Tourist's True Story of Lifesaving Surgery in India

Maggi Ann Grace, Author New Harbinger $24.95 (269p) ISBN 978-1-57224-492-4

In this inspiring, informative narrative, Grace explains how she and her partner decided to search abroad for health care. Grace and Howard Staab were just falling in love when, during a routine physical, he discovered he had a leaking mitral valve in his heart. A self-employed 53-year-old construction contractor, he had no health insurance. The hospital estimated his surgical bills would come to $200,000—if all went well. Grace, an artist who'd once worked in medical billing, tried to argue the fees down to what an insurance company would pay, but she was unpersuasive. They researched other options, including her medical student son's recommendation of a private hospital in India. Before long, the couple had a room at the Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi. A skilled team of doctors performed pre-op tests and then surgery—first to repair the valve, and then, when that didn't work, to replace it. The fee for both operations, plus extensive postoperative care, came to less than $10,000, which included looking after Grace's needs as well. Not only was the surgery successful, the hospital staff was well trained and well coordinated. While the North Carolina couple never got to do much tourism during their one-month stay, they do shed pleasant light on what seems to be a growing industry. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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