34-days-old baby boy passes away: mother sought help on internet claiming pediatrician of Leros was absent
A short life of just 34 days. The baby of Leros lost a battle never meant to be won. The baby boy passed away at Tuesday noon despite the doctors’ efforts to keep him alive. On Sunday, the baby was transported from the island of Leros to University Hospital of Heraklio, Crete, with symptoms of hypothermia, starvation, breathing problems and organs collapse, while it developed blood poisoning during the last twelve hours.
The case shakes and divides the Greek society as the mother claimed already on Friday evening on an internet forum that the pediatrician of the island was absent. Greek media and local officials speak of “indications that the baby was ‘neglected’ by his young and inexperienced mother” and refer to skin problems due to lack of hygiene. Local officials claim,there are two pediatricians on the island and that the one assigned to national health care system was not absent. Not to exclude is the possibility that the young mother suffered from postnatal depression which hindered her to take good care of the baby.
Mothers’ appeal for help on internet
On Friday evening, the mother had tried to get advice through the internet and thus on a forum for young mothers.
posted Friday, 18. Jan 2012, 8:16 pm
SOS!!! I think my baby is sick and there is no pediatrician on the island!
“Girls, help! I am a young mother, I don’t know much about babys, but I think there is something wrong since 2 days. My baby, one month old, is sleeping all of the time, he wakes up only to eat every 7 hours, he drinks only 90ml, he doesn’t open his eyes and he feels cold. I dressed him very well, but still feels cold. I spoke with the only pediatrician of the island, but he told me he can’t do anything before he examines him. Problem is he is in Kos now, there is a sailing ban… He comes back on Tuesday if the weather permits it. I don’t know what to think and what to do…”
Members of the forum try to help the mother with questions and tips and advise her to take the baby to the local hospital next morning and demand that any doctor examines it. A dramatic exchange of posts take place with the young mother seeking for help.
When short before midnight the mother reports that the baby does not open his yes, the forum participants post even the telephone numbers of the ambulance/emergency service of Greek Air Force that often transports with helicopters sick and injured people to hospitals.
The young mother is alone at home with a neighbor, while the baby’s father apparently is doing his shift at the military camp of the island. The family is alone on Leros due to the assignment of the father.
“I’m in shock,” she writes, while a forum participant posts “GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!”
The parents apparently take the baby to the local hospital after midnight. Her last forum entrance reads:
“Doctors didn’t say anything. I’m home to take some cloths for the baby. I’ll keep you updated.”
Locals contradict the mother
Speaking to website Tlife, the director of the hospital said that the baby was taken to the hospital at 10:30 Saurday morning. The mayor stressed that the woman was not from Leros and that the man she was living with was not the father of the baby. The pediatrician who examined the baby spoke of “clear starvation”.
On internet, angry users sharply criticize media focusing on the mother’s efforts to get help on internet “while her child was dying” as they wrote. Others wonder why the pediatrician called the prosecutor because of a weight loss. Some locals speak of ‘defamation of a whole island’ and stress that the mother was not from the island. She was from Thessaloniki, she had wrote on “IamMother” forum.
Police and prosecutor investigate the tragedy.
In 13 out of 51 Prefectures of Greece, no pediatrician is being assigned to the National Health Care system and parents have to pay by their own pockets if they want their children to have proper health care.
Citizens in regions near the borders and small island have always been on health care ‘diet’ even before the loan agreements of Greece and the imposed harsh austerity measures.
Leros is an island of the Dodecanese group with some 9,000 inhabitants.
PS what should I think? That if the mother was from Leros, she would never dare claim, there was no baby doctor on the island?