It is not a secret and it is not new that public hospitals in Greece collapse. The first budget cuts imposed with the first bailout agreement affected the public health. Seven years later, the situation goes from bad to worse in fast speed. The austerity freezing of hiring (1:7) ended up in severe shortages in medical and paramedical personnel. The sharp expenditure cuts deprive hospitals of spare parts and essential material. KTG reported many times in the past about the situation in Greece’s hospitals, the deficiencies in personnel and material, incl bed sheets, the never ending bureaucracy.
Now doctors and workers at the public hospitals mention a new phenomenon: the increasing risk of death due to inner-hospital infections.
Speaking to UK’s Guardian about the Greek public health meltdown, doctors and personnel say that hospitals have become “danger zones”.
Title: Patients who should live are dying’: Greece’s public health meltdown
Subtitle: Alexis Tsipras’s austerity drive has seen hospitals become ‘danger zones’, doctors say, with many fearing worse is to come.
The report speaks of “rising mortality rates, an increase in life-threatening infections and a shortage of staff and medical equipment are crippling Greece’s health system as the country’s dogged pursuit of austerity hammers the weakest in society”.
In the name of tough fiscal targets, people who might otherwise survive are dying,” said Michalis Giannakos who heads the Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees. “Our hospitals have become danger zones.”
Figures released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recently revealed that about 10% of patients in Greece were at risk of developing potentially fatal hospital infections, with an estimated 3,000 deaths attributed to them.
The occurrence rate was dramatically higher in intensive care units and neonatal wards, the body said. Although the data referred to outbreaks between 2011 and 2012 – the last official figures available – Giannakos said the problem had only got worse.
Like other medics who have worked in the Greek national health system since its establishment in 1983, the union chief blamed lack of personnel, inadequate sanitation and absence of cleaning products for the problems. Cutbacks had been exacerbated by overuse of antibiotics, he said.
“For every 40 patients there is just one nurse,” he said, mentioning the case of an otherwise healthy woman who died last month after a routine leg operation in a public hospital on Zakynthos. “Cuts are such that even in intensive care units we have lost 150 beds.”
And the good German galley sails on with the slaves rowing – some of them dying on the job. Alex Spartacus on whom so many expectations were laid proved to be a paid agent…
I am English, living in Greece.
This situation is not new.
My husband died in 2013 after contracting infection after infection in a Greek hospital. There was no clean sheets. No dressings. No pressure mattresses. On Sundays, no drugs. Two nurses for a ward of over 100 patients. My husband had a tube down his throat. I was required to suction it out. With no clean tubes. I was required to get his bed pan. Three bed pans on a ward of 50. No way of sterilising it…not even hot water. The toilets were beyond filthy. My husband spent 4 weeks in an intensive care unit. When he was put on a ward, I discovered he had a bedsore that had taken 90% of his bottom away. I could see his spine. He was left in a dirt filled nappy. I was required to buy new ones and change him…alone. When I asked for help lifting him, I was told “you are not in intensive care now”.
When I asked if anyone checked his temperature as I could see he was contracting yet another infection…I was told they wouldn’t miss something like that. Sadly, they did miss it. the last infection he contracted was klebsiella.
he was sent back on a 3 hour ambulance ride to the island hospital he had started off in. When I asked if he was fit enough to make that journey, I was told “we wouldn’t send him if he wasn’t”.
My husband died 5 days later.
When I queried his bedsore, I was told ” nobody ever dies of a bedsore”.
sadly, he did.
The klebsiella in his lungs went into his spine. Exposed by the bedsore. It shut down his nervous system.
For 9 weeks, my husband and I were treated with an inhuman lack of compassion and care. He suffered so much indignity and pain.
Noone should ever go through what we went through.
so sorry to hear what you and your husband went through. and what is often said in GR is to threaten to “call the TV channels in”. sorry to say that but sometimes it works miracles here. unfortunately patients’ relatives have to undertake half of med personnel work.
A sad horrible but very true story. Sorry for your loss. The sad truth is that things today are even worse, with the health system being converted into a life elimination device.
By the way, did you try to sue the hospital? Maybe it makes sense even now.