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Inflation pinch with healing touch - Cost of surgeries has increased in the past five years, so has quality

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  • Published 4.08.11

Patna, Aug. 3: Inflation is not limited to market. It has a bearing on your health as well. Take heart, the cardiac surgery cost has not spiralled much.

The fee of most of the surgeries has doubled in the past five years, courtesy the increase in price of equipment and medicines. The experts attributed it to better and safer healthcare facilities, though.

Dr Amulya Kumar Singh, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon in the city, attributed the surge in surgery fees to better infrastructure, advance methods of treatment and skilled medical care at private hospitals. “The medicare in the city has improved in the past few years. Patients are now getting better facilities. All good orthopaedic hospitals now have good quality image intensifiers in operation theatres, which costs about Rs 8 lakh. The cost of these facilities is ultimately borne by the patients and their relatives,” Singh said.

The surgeon said the cost of major orthopaedic surgeries has seen a two-fold increase in the past five years. “Many people now prefer going for the implants than general plaster for fractures for quick healing. While the cost for plaster is Rs 1500-2000, the price of imported implants could be Rs 50,000. Expensive tools and consumable items for surgeries have pushed the prices further,” Singh said.

A city-based neurosurgeon said the charge for general neuro-surgery was Rs 25,000- 30,000 earlier. It is Rs 70,000-75000 now.

“Earlier, cheaper brands of antibiotics were used during surgeries. With people developing resistance to many known brands, better and costlier brands are being used. They contribute to the increases treatment cost,” the neuro surgeon said.

Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Manju Geeta Mishra said: “The establishment cost in nursing homes and clinics have increased sharply. Medicines and equipment are costlier now. Patients want better operation theatres and post-surgery care. There has been nominal increase in fee charged by doctors but the other factors are compelling patients to spend more on the surgeries.”

Five years ago, the fee of caesarean section was Rs 6,000-Rs 8,000 in the city. Now, most of the nursing homes charge between Rs 12,000 and Rs 16,000 for the operations. Gastro-surgery like laparotomy earlier cost Rs 5,000-Rs 7000. The same operation now costs about Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000. The rates of urological surgeries like stone removal from gall bladder and kidney have also seen a northward rise.

The heart patients have been spared the inflation heat to a certain extent. The private cardiac surgeons, in order to retain patients, have decided against sharp increase in the rates of cardiac surgeries. “It has been a conscious move. The rates of material used in operations have increased so much that we decided not to increase our charges. The rate of bypass surgery was Rs 1.20 lakh in all major heart hospitals in the city five years ago. It has reached Rs 1.40 lakh now. This hike is almost negligible in comparison to increase in other specialised surgeries in the city,” said Dr Sanjeev Kumar, the director of Magadh Hospital.