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Quebec firm arranges surgeries in Cuba.

A Quebec company is offering to arrange speedy health-care services for a fee in Cuba, but patients have to book their own flights.

Services Sante International charges $200 per medical file and patients must make their own flight and insurance arrangements.

President and founder Lucie Vermette said Tuesday that in Cuba, hip replacements cost between $5,000 and $6,000, and cataract operations only $2,000--about half of what similar operations would cost in Canada, and only one-tenth of what they'd cost in the United States. Cuban doctors also do aesthetic surgery, though heart surgery and other complicated, riskier procedures aren't available.

"The care is given by highly qualified doctors and in five-star hospitals," said Vermette, adding that besides Spanish, most Cuban doctors speak English; many also speak some French, Russian or German.

Translation can be provided if needed.

Once the patient's file arrives in Cuba through the Quebec company, doctors can give a treatment recommendation and price within about three days, said Vermette, noting that was motivated to start her service after waiting six months to see a specialist.
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Date:Feb 1, 2007
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