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Heads up for Canadians travelling to Eugenix in the coming months...


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The Canadian government will not accept PCR test results from India unless you are flying direct and only then, with a specific testing company (Genestrings). If you are coming to Eugenix (and any HT clinic in India but I think most are coming to Eugenix), you have to book a PCR test in the last country you transit through before your flight to Canada. So if you are coming to Toronto via London, like I am, you have to book a PCR test in London and have enough time to get a neg result AND have it uploaded to the ArriveCAN app prior to boarding the flight home. The Canadian government is also requiring a minimum stay of 4 hours in that last transit country. So please make sure you leave yourself plenty of time on your last leg of the trip back to Canada to get tested in that country and get the results. Canada will accept RT-PCR and RT-LAMP tests but not antigen test results. LAMP results are the fastest if time is of essence - in my case, I am supposed to get my LAMP test results within 3 hours of testing at Heathrow airport. But I still had to re-schedule my return flight back to Canada to accommodate the requirements.

Is all this hassle worth the travel to Eugenix? Yes. Yes it is.

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Can’t wait to see your review 🙌🏼

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I do not provide medical advice, recommendations, all responses are my opinion.

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Huge thanks for the info. I'm scheduled for surgery w/ Eugenix on the 8th/9th of November. I may fly direct from Toronto as apparently there is a Genestrings lab at the Delhi airport in India, which will make the flight back easier (if more expensive).

I have a couple of other questions regarding successfully getting the Indian visa, if you don't mind me asking:

1. A Canadian Doctor's note is required along with the Eugenix note. Since I am in a remote community and not seeing a regular family doctor, I'm a little concerned about having to convince a random Dr to sign off on a letter and to endorse what is most likely to them, a random clinic in India. Especially when this is an elective surgery. Any tips on how I can frame it?

2. Did you do the full blood test in Canada?

 

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1 minute ago, WhatComesNext said:

Huge thanks for the info. I'm scheduled for surgery w/ Eugenix on the 8th/9th of November. I may fly direct from Toronto as apparently there is a Genestrings lab at the Delhi airport in India, which will make the flight back easier (if more expensive).

Genestrings is, indeed, the company that tests inbound passengers at the Indira Gandhi airport. But you have to be able to receive SMS text messages on your phone to access the results because the company makes you log in to an account to see them, which requires a verification code sent to your phone. It's way too complicated a process, IMO. Don't forget that results are only good for 72 hours or less than time of departure. If your plan is to just fly in and out with no pre or post-op buffers, you may be OK. But consider giving yourself a little room on both ends of the surgery, particularly if you are getting a large number of grafts. Flying on such a long flight just after surgery is a tricky proposition. Lots of trauma to the scalp and lots of post-op care required.

I have a couple of other questions regarding successfully getting the Indian visa, if you don't mind me asking:

1. A Canadian Doctor's note is required along with the Eugenix note. Since I am in a remote community and not seeing a regular family doctor, I'm a little concerned about having to convince a random Dr to sign off on a letter and to endorse what is most likely to them, a random clinic in India. Especially when this is an elective surgery. Any tips on how I can frame it?

I had a family doc for years who retired in February. I have only been with my new family doctor since May. Since we had no history, I also had concerns about how I should get him to frame the contents of the letter for the medical visa requirements. Here is what I asked him to write so that I didn't put him in a compromised position:

"To the Consulate General of India,

-Your name- has notified me that he will be travelling to New Delhi, India, for a hair transplantation procedure with Eugenix clinic on -dates of surgery-"

Then signed and dated by the doc. That's it. I didn't ask the doctor to endorse my decision to seek out a transplant nor did I ask them to endorse the clinic. The letter should just simply state that he/she was notified of your decision. That's all it took to meet the requirements for the medical visa. Make sure you impress on the doctor that the Consulate requires a note from a physician in Canada for the medical visa. But get on this fast. If you are in a remote community, you have to do everything by mail, which takes time. 

2. Did you do the full blood test in Canada?

I did as many of the blood tests requested by Eugenix as I could in Canada but the labs here in Toronto don't do all of the tests. For example, they did not do a prothrombin time test, HIV 1 and 2 test. Those were done by a mobile clinician who came to the Eugenix clinic the night before my surgery. This is an additional cost not covered by Eugenix. You must pay out of your own pocket, in cash, for the tests. Since I didn't have time to exchange Canadian money for rupees at the Delhi airport, I gave the clinician $50 Canadian and he gave me back 1000 rupees, or about $18. So the costs for the additional blood tests were $32 Canadian. If you can't get all of the required blood tests done in Canada (and you likely will not), then make sure you have cash on you when you get here to pay for it. Eugenix cannot pick up this tab for you and the clinician does  not carry a credit/debit machine - cash only. That's why I strongly suggest the following: either exchange Canadian cash for rupees before you leave Canada or upon arrival in Delhi at the airport (lots of money exchange kiosks after you clear customs). I also suggest that you give yourself at least one day prior to the surgery to get into Delhi (Gurgaon, actually), settle into the hotel and arrange for the blood work to be done the evening before surgery. Eugenix effectively works around the clock (seriously - they book surgeries in the middle of the night to accommodate passengers who struggle with jet lag upon arrival). On the night before my surgery, at around 8 pm, Eugenix arranged for a driver to pick me up at the hotel and take me to the clinic to get the tests done. I'm glad that I came in a day early and scheduled my outbound flight from India at least 48 hours after my surgery. Eugenix will cover two nights stay at the hotel - you cover the rest. But, honestly, Eugenix has a corporate account with the DoubleTree Hilton just about a 4 minute car ride from the clinic and the hotel will extend the corporate rate to you for the nights you are covering. Comes with buffet breakfast and the rate is about $80 Cdn per night. Ask for Boomi or Pooja to assist you if they are manning the front desk. Boomi was the one who told me about the corporate rate and saved me some $ by doing so. Pooja is cute and so I like to include her in any conversation possible. Tell them that Ian referred you and that I was here from October 9-15. 

 

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4 minutes ago, kirkland said:

 

This is absolutely massive. Huge thanks to you.

I have an appointment with the Dr tomorrow and will take your approach. I will aim to get everything ready and mailed in by EOD Friday, so I should be good on the turnaround. I've already done the preliminary work with BLS and they know that I'm in a remote community and will need to do everything by mail etc.

I'm looking at a decent # of grafts - 3000 to 4500, depending on donor, so I've elected to stay a few days post-surgey until the clinic can do the first big wash. With this in mind, I'll need to do the PCR test 72 hours prior to departure and will coordinate with the clinic for that. I think this part should be relatively straight forward as Eugenix is used to dealing with Canadian clients. All a moot point if I balk at the cost of a direct Delhi - Toronto flight and instead opt to go via London or another transit point. In that case I'll definitely be taking the above advice.

Thanks a ton again.

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Ok - so you definitely want to stay at least 48 hours post-surgery with that large number of grafts. Lots of trauma to the scalp, 2 days of surgery. You and your head are going to be tired (but happy) by the end of it all. You need a good couple of days rest to allow your grafts to take properly plus you will have to spray your scalp with a saline solution every two hours for a few days, or at the very least, two days post-op. You don't want to be going through the hassle of waiting in airports, stuck on a busy plane for hours or just the challenges of long-distance travel in general with that much surgery for at least a couple of days. I don't know if Eugenix can arrange Genestrings to come and do a PCR test at the clinic. Mine was done by the same company that did my blood tests but it wasn't Genestrings. It's all a moot point if you are not taking a direct flight anyways since Canada will not accept a PCR test result from any Indian company, including Genestrings, if transiting through another country en route back to Canada. Make sure you arrange a return flight schedule that includes enough time in the last leg of the return journey to get a PCR test and receive the results plus upload them into the ArriveCAN app BEFORE you depart that last country. Otherwise, they will refuse you a boarding pass. In London, a couple of people were refused a boarding pass for their flight to India because they did not have timely documents ready. It is a serious business right now with travel. Everything is much more complicated in the COVID travel world so you have to build in enough time to make sudden changes or meet the necessary requirements just in case. You have to be ready to make alternate arrangements if the situation changes.

Eugenix is used to dealing with people from all over the world but they are not travel agents. They have a lot of responsibilities already so don't rely on them to know what all the travel requirements are for each country. They have a big and dedicated staff but they work long hours to satisfy patients for their transplants. It's up to the patients to handle all other details of their journey.

Good luck!

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Hi @kirkland, I thought I'd ask this question here for any other Canadians who are wondering - where do you see the language specifically from the Canadian government about having to wait 4 hours for indirect flight on return to Canada? I see the bit about requiring PCR, but nothing on 4 hours. https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/india

On 10/13/2021 at 10:27 AM, kirkland said:

The Canadian government is also requiring a minimum stay of 4 hours in that last transit country. So please make sure you leave yourself plenty of time on your last leg of the trip back to Canada to get tested in that country and get the results.

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I was informed of this by the British Airways agent when I had to re-book my flight home from London. They told me that it was to allow for enough time to get tested and get the results before boarding the plane back to Canada. My original flight plan had a 2 hour layover in London from Delhi back to Toronto. BA cancelled that return flight because they were advised that it was not enough time for the process of testing in the UK. Since I had no choice but to re-book, I didn't check the gov't of Canada website on a minimum 4 hour rule. But the quickest turnaround time for a molecular test that Canada will accept is the RT-LAMP test. In Heathrow, you can get the test done in one of their testing centres located there. You have to book the test and pay in advance. But the quickest they guarantee the result is 3 hours (on their website, it says 2 hours but when you actually go to book, it says 3 hours).

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