I needed some ultrasounds in India during our budget slow travel in early retirement. This covers where I went, what it was like and what I paid.
This was my second experience with expat health care in Jaipur – the first was Theo’s dengue fever. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and has many hospitals, doctors, and clinics.
I needed a doctor to evaluate a pain in my side and take a look at suspicious lymph nodes I’ve been watching for two years. I went to Ovale Diagnostic Centre.
After my review, I share a side story about something in the clinic that really caught me off guard — something I’ve never seen in 25+ countries.
Ultrasounds in India
Breast cancer background
In 2018, I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in my left breast, and I decided to have a double mastectomy without reconstruction by a great doctor in Zagreb, Croatia.
It was an aggressive form of cancer, but it was such an early stage that I opted only for surgery and hormone-blocking pills; I skipped chemotherapy and Herceptin treatments.
I need ongoing lymph node imaging because two axillary nodes have been larger than normal during my last several checkups.
Pain in my side
When we first arrived in Jaipur, I had planned to get a pain in my side examined, but Theo had dengue fever and I put it off.
My uneducated Google guess was a possible gall stone, although it had faded to a dull ache most of the time when I finally got to imaging clinic.
Ultrasounds in India – what it was like
I went with no appointment, gave my name to the front desk gentleman, told him what I wanted to have done, paid 600 rupees ($7.35), waited two minutes in a lobby chair, and was taken in to see the doctor.
The radiologist was a kind man who listened to my history, then asked a couple of questions as a female assistant stood to the side of the room. Then he got to work on the machine that seemed modern to my untrained eye.
His exam took about 10 minutes. When he was done, he gave me his opinion.
I thanked Dr Pranav goyal (sic) and went back out to the lobby.
Back in the lobby, the staff asked me to wait a moment. I sat down. The doctor’s assistant came out and said I owed another 1,500 rupees ($18.50) for the lymph node and chest exams.
Apparently, the receptionists (men) were confused about what I wanted and had ordered my lymph node and chest exams. But when I spoke with the doctor, he understood perfectly and did the test.
No problem. I paid the extra fee and had my report in about 10 minutes.
Great news! The doctor believes the side pain is muscular – a severe pull of some type. It was around one of my formerly broken ribs.
And one lymph node looks normal, just bigger than normal, and the other looks ‘mostly’ normal, just a little bigger. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to have a biopsy, but he didn’t advise that. So, I will have yet another check in another six months.
More great news: my liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, right and left kidneys, urinary bladder, and uterus – all appear normal.
My rating of Ovale Diagnostic Centre
There was confusion about what I wanted, and the price. Not a huge deal. I’m sure they don’t get many middle-aged, breastless, white women in their clinic. Still, poor English in the front office contributed to the confusion. They also got my name wrong – ‘Allen.’
Otherwise, the doctor is good, the facilities are clean and modern, the location is convenient, and the price is acceptable.
I’d give it 4.5 stars.
This rating is only for ultrasounds. I have no experience with a host of other services they offer including CAT scans and biopsies.
I have no idea what an ultrasound of organs and lymph nodes would cost in the USA, but I’m guessing it would be a more than the $26 I paid for ultrasounds in India as a walk-in with instant results.
Thankfully, I don’t have to find out any time soon.
There are two locations of the Ovale Diagnostic Centre in Jaipur. I went to the one on New Sanganer Road, opposite metro pillar #83, a few blocks south of the Vivek Vihar metro station.
Google reviews average only 3.9 stars at the Sanganer location, while the other on Feet Road gets 4.5 stars. I went to the New Sanganer Road location because it was a two-minute walk from our Airbnb rental.
Side story: female foeticide
I saw something that I have never seen before in other medical facilities in many other countries: a foeticide announcement.
There was a large poster on the wall within my line of sight as I was under examination about how that clinic did not provide the sex identification of any fetus in an effort to stop “female foeticide.”
That’s wild to me. I later looked it up why that would be in a poster announcement. Apparently, it’s a law passed in India in the mid-1990s to prevent abortion of girls.
According to The Pew Research Center, “at least 9 million girls are ‘missing’ in India from female infanticide from 2000 to 2019.” Missing means aborted. Read more on this sobering report on The Wire.
I still have much to learn about India, and I’m grateful for the chance to do it.