Briton trusts Indian medical service more than NHS

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London, Feb 12 (UNI) Losing trust in Britain's state hospitals after losing a leg in a previous bungled operation, 80-year-old Battling Ken Austin flew to India for his knee surgery.

Mr Austin refused to go through the NHS again after a knee replacement on his right leg ended up with him losing the limb completely because the surgeons had mistakenly severed an artery.

When faced with a similar operation on his other leg, he spent his savings on coming to India for the procedure instead.

Mr Austin, after returning from the trip, said, ''It's a sad case that you pay all your taxes and then don't get the service. I realise it was a tricky operation I had, but I did not trust them.'' Remembering the operation performed by British medics, he said, ''While I was in theatre, an artery was severed, cutting off the blood supply through my leg and foot, and what should have been an eight-day stay turned into an eight-month nightmare.'' ''The flesh on my right leg began to die. When ulcers started appearing all over my leg, I was left with little choice but to have the leg removed, which was done in January last year.'' Mr Austin had to have a false leg and now walks with a stick after the failed operation.

When his left knee also started having problem, seven months later, the pensioner decided coming to India.

The wait for an operation in India is shorter and it only costs 5,000 pounds, including travel, compared to 9,000 pounds in England.

The operation took place in Bharathi Raja Hospital in Chennai and by the end of the year, was in the operation theatre receiving treatment from UK-trained consultant orthopaedic surgeon AK Venkatachalam.

He now says if he ever has more problems with his knee, he would not think twice before going back to India instead of using the NHS.

UNI XC SYU KN1841

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