While a few Japanese in the city have confirmed that one of the oldest hospital in the city, Privat Hospital, have a separate desk dedicated to the Japanese patients, I couldn’t see any in the main reception hall. While I tried enquiring about the details of treatment offered to Japanese personnel, the public relation lady arrogantly turned down the request, saying “We are not interested. We have our own ways of getting Japanese patients coming to the hospital”. I was left wondering whether my enquiring about the hospital infrastructure qualifies for breach of some sort of security measures.
While newly constructed Fortis also do not have any sort of special arrangement to cater to a non-English speaking Japanese national, they seemed to have created positive impact due to their state of art infrastructural set up and prime location. Japanese national Yusuke Kambe who has been living in Gurgaon for few years now, in a candid chat said, “I stay at Hamilton Court next to Galleria market. I guess the first hospital that comes to mind near my place would be Fortis because it is next to HUDA City Center”. But in case of a medical emergency will you walk into Fortis? Yusuke did not seem to be much sure. He says he does not have much trust on the system. “Fortis seems like a good hospital. I've heard mixed reviews though. If I were to go, I would choose a professional, hygienic place like Fortis. But I am concerned about the staff. I do have mixed review upon the medical staff. Unfortunately I have lived in Delhi/NCR long enough to know that the majority of people can't be trusted.”
Yusuke’s words were not in isolation. Many Japanese in the city, for no apparent reasons though, fail to place complete trust on the system when they walk into a hospital. It is not easy to communicate in a foreign language to a foreign doctor when you are in pain, especially when you do not place much faith on the system itself. But then Yusuke is lucky. “I know that there are many very qualified and amazing doctors in the city. I personally know a few.” Unexpectedly, my journey to Artemis proved to be quite surprising. While the public relations executive Suchismita was friendly and explained in details the support they provide to the Japanese expats in the city, she also connected me to the dedicated Japanese doctor working with them to handle Japanese clients.
Dr. Misako Matsumaru, who sits in the OPD of Artemis, politely explains that she is employed by an external agency named “WellBe” and she looks after not only Japanese but at times European patients also. “On average, about 5 patients visit to me every day. Half of them are wife of expats and their children. Their chief complaints are respiratory and gastrointestinal symptom due to environmental deterioration.” Artemis even has a Japanese translator to assist the patients in case they find it difficult to communicate to the supporting medical staff.
A comparative study between various hospitals on key issues are given below:
So why are not other hospitals taking cue from what Artemis is doing and improving on their support facility towards the Japanese? AnuragRana,MarketingExecutiveofColumbiaAsia,explains, “ Anumberofagenciesworkasthemiddlemenandexpats.Wenormallygetforeignpatientsthroughthem.” This explains why hospitals shy away from improving their own infrastructure and incur additional overhead costs.
But are we able to improve the trust factor among the expats? Yusuke doesn't seem to be sure. When pressed hard he says, "I am hopeful that most of these doctors are good. After all India ranks high on the list of medical tourism." Seems like we have to go a few miles more before we establish our faith among our foreign friends in the city.