Monkeying with medical tourism in India

As New Delhi has expanded, monkeys have lost their habitat and invaded urban areas of the city. The influx has perplexed the city government, but after the death of the deputy mayor, who fell while trying to scare some monkeys off his balcony, the issue has taken on new urgency.

I was a bit shocked by the following paragraphs in the New York Times (Monkeys in the Parks, Monkeys in the Palace) describing the extent of the problem:

The lawyer charged by the High Court with ensuring the monkeys’ removal said recently that things were as bad as ever, even in some leading hospitals. “They attack patients who are being rolled inside the hospital, pull out IV tubes and scamper off to drink the fluids,” the lawyer, Meera Bhatia, told Indian journalists.

“We have a serious problem because of our religious ways,” Ms. Mehra said. “People feed them liberally. But they do attack. In the past three years, there have been 2,000 cases of monkey bite in Delhi.”


November 15, 2007

3 thoughts on “Monkeying with medical tourism in India”

  1. Interestingly, the Indian lawyer Meera Bhatia mentioned in the article is a childhood friend of mine, though I haven’t been in direct contact with her for decades.

    There shouldn’t be any false alarms for potential medical tourists. From first hand knowledge I know there are no monkeys anywhere near the elite hospitals in Delhi that US medical tourists would consider. Not only are these hospitals in heavily urbanised settings (and yet amidst wide open spaces that discourage any monkeys) but they’re teeming with security personnel and other attendants. Ditto for the upscale hotels nearby.

    The hospitals Meera is talking about are probably the 50-100 year old government run hospitals like Willingdon (now called Ram Manohar Lohia) and Safdarjung which have lots of trees and greenery around, and are not the multi-storey high-rises like the modern specialty private hospitals.

  2. Hi David,

    Actually, I had to chuckle over this report, even though it’s very serious. And Sandip Madan has said it very correctly. There would simply be no way a monkey could get by the security of one of these medical tourism plants. Just not possible to get into one of these hospitals. However, also I agree that none of the MT facilities are even near the monkey’s habitats.

    Medical Tourism continues to raise the level of India’s ordinary hospitals. Otherwise, this would probably not have made the news. And there are other indicators too. We all welcome this progress for ordinary Indian citizens.

    Don Wood, Dir.
    America’s Medical Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
    Bombay, India

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