Armed with a photograph of Bruce Willis and a couple of thousand dollars, John Joseph Conway, a 43-year-old firefighter from Chicago, checked into Sir Ganga Ram hospital on Tuesday.
He had a bizarre request to make to hospital’s plastic surgeons: he wanted to look like his hero Bruce Willis.
Now, recuperating from his three-hour-long surgery, which cost him $1,600, Conway says, "I am a firefighter... I need to look the part. I wanted to improve my jawline. Bruce Willis has a nice, strong jaw."
Dr Vivek Kumar, one of the three plastic surgeons who operated upon Conway on Thursday, says, "After he contacted us on email, he said that as a man who jumps into burning buildings, people in the community look up to him and he needed to maintain his macho image." The doctors studied his face for three days to give him the look he wanted.
A couple of hours after the procedure, the fireman says he is 'very satisfied'. He plans to bring his 63-year-old mother here for a $1,500 facelift. "My 40-year-old sister, who is studying to be a teacher, will follow."
Between the three of them, the Conways will pay $4,600 for the medical procedures, post-operative care and hospital stay here. Back home, it would have cost them $40,000.
The Conways are part of the burgeoning influx of medical tourists flocking to India's hospitals, because treatment is not only cheap but also at par with the best in the world.
This is Conway's second trip for surgery to India. He was last here in April 2005 for an eyelid surgery that cost him one-fifth of what he would have had to pay in the US. "With the money I saved, I got to see a new country — incredible India," he smiles.
Email Veena Sandhu: vsandhu @hindustantimes.com