There’s specialty and there’s super specialty, take your pick. There was also a time when going to Bombay Hospital or Jaslok Hospital or Breach Candy meant you were rich, really rich and if you were middle class and were diagnosed with cancer That was before Mediclaim and cashless insurance and being diagnosed with cancer meant you automatically trundled off to Tata Memorial.

Then, before you could say TPA, up sprang the healthcare system – and suddenly Bombay Hospital began to look like everyone’s elderly out-dated aunt. With Leelavati, Wockhardt, Ambani, Hiranandani and Kohinoor making an appearance, the others started sprucing up, from Holy Family and Holy Spirit, to Bhaktivedanta and Shushrusha. And then there were the tie-ups, Harvard Medical, Cleveland Clinic, or the ISO 9000 benchmarks. Finally, there is the Asian heart Hospital and Ramakant Panda and a new lease of life to out Prime Minister, thanks to them!

Meanwhile, the St George. KEM, JJ, Nair and GT, the old-style state government and civic hospitals, were undergoing transformations of their own, band-aids, it must be admitted, to the rot within. But at least the authorities were doffing their hats to the need for change.

Currently, Cooper, the first civic hospital to go Specialty, has been demolished in Vile Parle west. In its place is rising a Rs 550 crore structure to rival the smartest hospital in island city or suburbs. How times have changed!


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