Russian doctors visit Tulsa medical facilities

Saturday, May 4th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

With a nationwide nursing shortage, Medicare cuts, insurance rate hikes, medical treatment in America is changing, and the world is watching how we respond. News on Six Medical reporter Tami Marler explains.

Karen Greer is getting ready for her second spinal surgery in a little more than a year. She says she wouldn't go anywhere but the Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma. "If I had to get my head cut off I would come here to the hospital. They're concerned about your recovery; they're concerned about not causing a lot of pain. And they're really concerned and centered on getting you well."

Its personalized care from a group of doctors who take ownership, in a hospital that's gaining worldwide recognition. Vera Lilina: "The same kind of operations, the same kind of surgeries, and we use the same kind of equipment." These doctors are visiting from Russia, where the government runs most hospitals. Inna Sherbina: "State hospital, they don't care about patients, because they are very low salary, no attention to patient needs."

The Russian government doesn't have the money to pay for elective surgeries like this one anymore. There's no insurance, so patients bear the financial burden. Inna Sherbina: "And doctors, they don't like patients, because they don't get enough money for their job.” After a visit with Tulsa doctors in 1999, Inna Sherbinoff went back to Russia and - with a group of physicians - opened a private medical clinic. Now they're hoping to start a private hospital. Inna Sherbina: "And we are not very much experienced in setting up private hospitals in Russia so that's why we're here, just looking and learning how to do that and that."

Roger Bourne says he's amazed that after just eight months in business, OHO is already a model for others. "This is a new concept in the United States and it's come a long way in the time it's been open." Sherbina and her staff are pioneers in a suffering medical community. Sherbina: "Doctors want to make changes because they are tired of this old system." And American enterprise may just help provide the cure.

Sherbina and her doctors are also visiting Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center. They’ll return to Russia soon.