Quality medical treatment overseas - let us be your guide

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Hip replacement in Thailand: How Basil saved himself thousands of dollars and years of pain

Basil from the Northern Territory had an active lifestyle, especially for a man in his 80s. He would bound up his stairs at home two at a time, and he still worked twice a week at the local markets.

Then, a few years ago, Basil noticed that he could only get up the stairs one a time. By the time the next year rolled around, he was having trouble climbing them at all, or doing other daily tasks like driving. Not only that: for months, Basil had been in severe pain.

The problem was Basil’s hips. Like many people of his age, Basil needed a hip replacement.

Unfortunately, with no private health insurance, Basil was told that he would be sitting on a waiting list for two years to have the operation done in a public hospital.

That’s two years of a severely restricted lifestyle. Two years of chronic pain, which could only be alleviated by strong painkillers with worrying side effects.

Naturally, Basil wasn’t happy about this. He made enquiries with health insurance providers, but found that even if he took out private cover, he would still be waiting for at least 12 months for a hip replacement, as his troublesome hips were considered a “pre-existing condition”.

Basil even enquired about paying for a hip replacement entirely out of pocket. The estimated bill was horrendous: between $80,000 and $90,000, far more than Basil could afford.

Basil’s solution: Hip replacement overseas

Basil had heard about people having hip replacements overseas, in places like Thailand. So he began ringing around overseas hospitals to see if this was an option for him. He was particularly impressed with Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.

The hospital recommended he get in touch with Global Health Travel, a medical tourism facilitator who could help Basil make all the necessary arrangements, as well as providing accommodation and personal assistance while he was in Bangkok.

Even with a brief delay because of flooding, Basil was in Thailand within weeks. He arrived on a Wednesday in November 2011, had an appointment with his specialist at Bumrungrad the following day, and was on the operating table for his hip replacement on Sunday! When out of hospital, Basil stayed at Global Health Travel’s Recovery Apartments in Bangkok, which he calls the “lap of luxury”.

In fact, Basil has nothing but praise for the whole experience. He describes his doctor, {name}, as “a lovely man, very human, and easy to talk to”, as well as a highly qualified specialist in knee replacement surgery. The nurses at Bumrungrad were the “salt of the earth”. All in all, Basil says he will never forget how he was looked after by Global Health Travel.

And the cost? Basil was out of pocket by about $20,000 with flights and accommodation - a far cry from the $80,000 - $90,000 he would have paid for private hip replacement in Australia.

Basil in Bumrungrad Hospital, recovering from hip replacement surgery

Basil in Bumrungrad Hospital, recovering from Hip Replacement surgery

Life since Basil’s hip replacement

Back in Australia, Basil has recovered extremely well. Basil says it takes about a year for the body to get completely used to a new hip, but it now feels “magic”. There have been no complications whatsoever from the surgery.

Basil has resumed his active lifestyle. About to turn 85, he is still working at the markets, and has recently bought himself a 17 foot yacht, which he plans to enjoy sailing around Moreton Bay.

Basil did discover shortly after returning that he needed a second hip replacement. He couldn’t afford to have a second operation in Thailand – although this would have been his first preference. Fortunately, because of the condition of his hip, Basil didn’t have to spend as long on the waiting list for this operation, which he had in a public hospital a few months ago.

Having experienced the hospital system in both Thailand and Australia, Basil says that while both were very professional, he still has great memories of his “magnificent” experience at Bumrungrad with Global Health Travel. “I was truly happy with the service, and happy with everything over there”, Basil says. He has no hesitation in recommending surgery in Thailand to anyone needing a hip replacement.

You can see a video interview with Basil, taken while he was still in hospital in Bangkok, on Global Health Travel's Facebook page.

Are you in the same situation as Basil? Need a hip reconstruction and don’t want to suffer for years on a waiting list? Call Global Health Travel today on 1800 985 448. Our friendly consultants will talk you through all your options and potential costs for top quality hip surgery overseas.