Two deaths occurred in a less than a week because it took ages for the ambulance to reach the people in urgent need of medical care. A man died of heart attack on Monday because there was no driver available for the ambulance of the health center in the area.
The only ambulance that could take the man to a hospital was parked in another health center in Polygyros located 80 km away. The drive through the roads of Halkidiki, from Polygyros to Nea Skioni in Kassandria would need one and a half hour.
The incident was revealed by a volunteer rescuer who tried to provide first aid to the unfortunate 55-year-old man.
Last Friday, a 38-year-old man died in Northern Greece because the ambulance arrived almost two hours later. The man collapsed in his home in Ouranoupoli due to a pulmonary edema.
“He died right there in front of us, while we’re waiting for the ambulance,” his aunt told media. When the man’s father called the service of the area in Palaiochori, Halkidiki “they told us, they had two ambulance vehicles, but no driver,” another relative said.
The first aid had to come from another area, when it arrived it was too late. “The paramedics did everything they could, but he was gone.”
The union of workers at the ambulance service of the Greek public health care system condemn the shortage of vehicles and personnel. Due to personnel shortages there are no drivers to cover the shifts on 24-hour basis, the union said. “Our primary target was that the health centers have more vehicles. Now this is second on our priority list, because the main problem is the shortage in personnel.”
The union warns that the situation will deteriorate due to the upcoming tourism season. It said that it will file lawsuit “against everyone responsible for the prevailing conditions that lead to loss of human lives.”
In a city like Athens, an ambulance comes within 40 minutes in the average. This also can be too late for cases of very urgent medical care.