A public hospital director in Athens turned an undocumented migrant from Albania to police after the woman had undergone a cancer operation. While still in bed trying to recover from the difficult operation, the woman had to see policemen around her guarding her, while the threat of deportation was hanging above her head like a Damocles sword: a hospital recovery room full policemen, deportation fear, serum tubes, IV bags, antibiotics, gauze and painkillers.
The uninsured woman from Albania was hospitalized for some time in the Cancer department of Metaxas Hospital and was then transferred to “Agioi Anargyroi” in Kifissia in order to undergo the operation and the removal of the tumor.
According to Greek media, right after the operation, Agioi Anargyroi director called the police and turned her for being an migrant without residence permit and insurance.
Relatives of the woman have reportedly paid 10,000 euro for the operation and other medical expenses.
Turning the bed-ridden woman to police triggered uproar among doctors and the Greek Hospital Doctors Federation (OENGE) condemned the incident and asked measures against the hospital director.
In a statement the OENGE condemned as “extreme cruelty and barbaric action” the act of hospital director and clarified that public hospital doctors will not follow an older circular issued by former Health Ministers (Papadopoulos, Loverdos) ‘asking us to be informers and human guards”.
It looks as if there has been a circular asking state hospital doctors to turn to police undocumented foreigners irrespectively whether they have paid for their medical expenses or not.
“Instead we will continue to provide health care to every person in need, obeying the Hippocratic Oath and the medical ethics,” the Doctors’ Federation said.
After the strong reactions, briefing of the Health Minister and Citizen Protection Minister, the guards have been withdrawn from the patient. The woman is expected to be deported after her full recovery.
PS Just wondering whether the director felt the need to go by the book, or his motive was of rather ideological nature…
Furthermore, how do they want here in Greece to promote medical tourism?