Canadian Couple Goes to Cuba for Her Orthopedic Surgery, But Instead They Both Get Treated

A Halifax couple, Diane and Vern Paul, traveled to Cuba so that she could get orthopedic surgery, but instead, they both were treated. Vern was so impressed with the quality of medical care in Cuba, that at the last minute he decided to get cosmetic surgery. Diane chose Cuba because she knew that the country had outstanding health care, and she wanted to avoid the one-year wait for her treatment in Canada.

Halifax, Canada, October 27, 2007 --( A Halifax couple, Vern and Diane Paul went to Cuba for her double-knee replacement, but instead they both were operated on.

The Pauls departed Halifax for Havana on Oct. 14th for what they assumed would be a double-knee replacement for Diane. However, her Cuban doctors at Havana’s Cira Garcia hospital determined that she didn’t require a complete knee replacement. Instead, they treated her legs with massage therapy, drained water from her knees and realigned her leg, including surgery to attach small bolts to her knees. They also did a nutritional analysis and developed an improved diet for her to help her to lose weight to alleviate her knee pain. She will continue a physiotherapy regimen to continue to improve her condition.

And, her husband Vern, who accompanied her for moral support, was so impressed with the hospital and the high quality of care that he decided to have surgery, too. He had cosmetic surgery (called “blepharoplasty”) to remove the bags under his eyes.

Reached by phone in Havana, Diane said, “Everything is wonderful. My God, it is absolutely amazing the outstanding care that I am receiving. The doctors and nurses are so caring and attentive, it’s like nothing I have ever seen before.”

Diane, 57, who had been in constant serious pain for years from her condition, added, “The only pain that I have now is a slight pain in my kneecap, but my doctors tell me that they will go away soon. I felt good enough that I went out to see Old Havana yesterday.”

Her husband is equally pleased.

“Our treatment has gone beautifully, absolutely beautifully,” Vern said.

Diane Paul, 57, went to Cuba for medical care because she would have had to endure a one-year wait to have a double-knee replacement in Canada. And, in the US, the cost would be prohibitively expensive. So, she learned about Choice Medical Services, a medical tourism firm that arranges for patients to go to Cuba to receive high quality and affordable medical care.

“Choice is thrilled for Diane and Vern that their treatments and trip went so well,” said Bill Doran, CEO of Choice Medical Services. “It’s so impressive that the Cuban medical professionals could save her from having a difficult and more invasive surgery, and provide Diane with an alternative and proven treatment to alleviate her prior, constant pain. And, it was a total surprise, but we were glad to schedule Vern in at the last minute for his procedure. He’s coming back a ‘new man’ with a younger and improved look.”

According to Choice, Diane’s double-knee replacement would have cost about $19,000, including spending two weeks at the hospital and two weeks recovering at a Cuban oceanside resort. Instead, her completed treatment will cost about $5900. And, Vern’s treatment will cost $1000, but would have cost four times as much in the US or Canada. His cosmetic surgery treatment is not covered by the Canadian health plan.

The Pauls plan to return to their Halifax home in early November.

Winnipeg-based Choice Medical Services has served many Canadian and US patients to help them to access Cuban healthcare. Canadian patients typically want to avoid long wait times. American patients are usually uninsured and often would be unable to afford proper care if this low-cost option wasn’t available. Choice will be adding other international destinations soon. To learn more, visit their website at or call toll-free 1-866-672-8284.


Assignment Editor's Note:
Diane and Vern Paul are available for interviews upon their return to Halifax. To schedule an interview for Monday, Nov. 5th at their Halifax home or other location, please call Michael Pirages at 773-769-1616 or email him at There is limited availability so contact them early. Date is subject to changing travel schedule.

See other press releases on Choice Medical Services and recent media coverage at:
Pirages Communications
Michael Pirages