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The May 12 issue had a list of many hospitals around the world where Americans can have surgery at prices far below those of American hospitals ["Destinations for Medical Travelers"].

My mother was very pleased to have a total hip replacement done in Bangkok in December 1979. After that she was able to walk much better and even to climb stairs. She was so satisfied with the results that several years later, in 1986, she had the other hip replaced at the same hospital, again with good results.

Leona Berglund

Rialto , Calif.  

Thank you. Gracias for recognizing one of my home town's hospitals in Monterrey, Mexico. It's quite an honor to be recognized. Though I have not had surgery in this particular hospital, I have had surgery in two other hospitals in Mexico. Would I do it again? At the drop of a sombrero. Not only was it cheaper, but I felt confidence in both doctors. If it wasn't that Medicare "won't pay" for surgery outside the U.S., I would do it again!

Evangelina Garcia-Hudson

Kahoka , Mo.  

It was with great interest that I read "Under the Knife in Bangalore," the excellent and detailed story on the growing number of Americans who engage in "medical tourism." It was also heartening to see Taiwan listed as one of the most competitive destinations for so-called medical tourists. Indeed, Taiwan's hospitals are held up to high standards of medical research and service, annually making valuable contributions to the advancement of modern medicine and serving as a cornerstone of Taiwan's world-class universal healthcare system. Taiwan's status as a top medical tourism destination proves that globalization is a trend in which Taiwan plays an important part. One would think that such a country would be a valuable partner in advancing world health. Yet, despite support from the U.S., E.U., Japan and many other governments as well as international health organizations, Taiwan's annual requests for observer status in the World Health Assembly are obstructed by opposition from the People's Republic of China. The World Health Organization's exclusion of Taiwan is not only resistant to the global trend, but risking global disease prevention.

Eugenia Yun

Press Officer
Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.A.

Your cover story, "Medical Tourism," reminded me of my friend, Jack, a retired medical school teacher, who went to Australia to visit his family with his wife, Carol. While in Australia, Carol had a pulmonary stroke when a clot from her leg lodged in her lung. Quickly, she was rushed to a hospital where she received excellent care for ten days, costing less than $5,600. Jack says if it had been in the U.S. it would have cost over $100,000. While most of us believe that we have the best health care in the world, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that the U.S. ranks an average of 12th in comparison to 13 other countries. Our third leading cause of death after heart problems and cancer, is adverse reaction to medical treatment and medical mistakes.

Jack D. Walker

Antioch, Tenn.