Oscar Goodman delivered his State of the City address last Tuesday night, and made the case that what Las Vegas needs is “economic diversification.” And part of that, he said, should include medical tourism. “We are prepared to be a medical Mecca,” Goodman said, by which he meant the Nevada Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. But Vegas is uniquely positioned to take this concept a few steps further.
What if, for instance, the Strip got involved in packaging medical tours? Taking a tip from Thailand and Brazil, they might offer a luxury sex-change staycation, or a competitively priced organ-transplant weekend. The Palms could transform its Barbie and basketball concept rooms into surgical suites: Anesthesia on demand. In-room bedside slot machines and gaming tables outfitted with heart monitors, IVs and oxygen tanks (not much of a stretch from what we already see on casino floors). Think of the cash to be harvested in the waiting rooms alone!
Having noted how Vegas pool parties recruit their staff, casino hotels could “cast” their operating rooms: Think surgeons with six-packs and high-heeled, hard-bodied nurses in designer micro-uniforms. We could offer promotional tie-ins with Nip/Tuck, Grey’s Anatomy and The Real Housewives of Wherever. Bring MTV back for a reality show tracking the true story of seven strangers … picked to live in a hospital and get full-body transformations to resemble their favorite celebrities. The Hard Rock might offer an indoor version of its infamous Rehab party (is “Recovery Room” taken?), with low lighting, high-energy beats, sponge baths and antibiotic cocktails.
All medical tours would include a front-of-the-line fast pass to the buffets, of course, plus a patient’s-club card rewarding the frequent convalescent.