Medical Doctorate? Register with Lufthansa and get free miles

The safest flight on which I have ever flown was between Minneapolis and Honolulu on a Northwest 757. On my way to a wedding in Maui, I happened to be on the exact same flight as 40 surgeons bound for a conference on the island. Imagine my comfort in knowing that if I choked on a mai thai there would be someone to resuscitate me.

Airlines often give an unofficial token of thanks to medical professionals who help on board a flight during an emergency. Stories range from upgrades to first class to vouchers for the in flight duty-free store to a bottle of Champagne, all small thanks for helping a fellow passenger in need.

German based Lufthansa is now making the process more official in their Doctors on Board program. MDs in the Miles and More program can register prior to departure to be “of use” during a medical emergency, and in return, Lufthansa will deposit 5,000 miles into the doctor’s account.

Note, while it does not say “medical” doctor on the proper site, the registration form does require credentials to be faxed in, so doctors of Mechanical Engineering or Judeo-Christian history need not apply, unless, perhaps, a passenger is having trouble falling asleep.

“Fertility Clinic Tourism” on the Rise in India

Relaxed regulations and cheap costs have made India a hotbed for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Couples looking to conceive through artificial means are coming from all over the globe to take advantage of these fertility services. The Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) claims that there are nearly 400 fertility clinics in the country. These were visited by 30,000 patients in the past year. According to some doctors, half of their patients come from overseas. And why not? Quality IVF procedures at a clinic in a major city like Mumbai cost about one-third of what they do in the US. Even after airfare, a couple stands to save thousands of dollars.

The boom means that there is a big demand for egg donors, who can earn between $200 and $1000 per donation. Medical tourism, in general, is on the rise in India. Elective procedures cost a fraction of what the do in the US and Europe and most top Indian doctors have been trained in Western medical schools, meaning their skills are on par with the best American and European surgeons. Because of these factors, India expects medical tourism to account for $2 billion in revenue by 2012.