It all started with the theft of diagnostic machines from Agio Savvas Cancer and Oncology Hospital in Athens, last week. The story repeated in the general hospitals of Volos, Lamia and Larissa in Central Greece. Four robberies in a week. Targeted at pulmonary and gastroenterology clinics in public hospital. Bulky divices worth thousands of euros disappear from hospitals full of personnel and patients.
The first victim of the shameful robberies was Agios Savvas Hospital located just a few walking steps away from the headquarter of Greek police in Athens. The theft occurred Monday night, May 15. The thieves broke doors and stole devices total worth 400,000 euros. Suspicion wanted that perpetrators got help from inside the hospital.
Six days later, a man is reported to have broken into the general hospital of Volos and stolen two bronchoscopes, worth 30,000 euros. A hospital worker happened to enter the department while the thief was at work. He broke a window and fled with a bag hanging from his shoulder.
Diagnostic devices worth 15,000 euro were stolen from the public hospital in Larissa over the weekend. the hospital CEO said the devices were older and that their replacement will cost 80,000 euros.
In the early morning hours of Monday, a week after the first incident, unknown perpetrators entered the pulmonary and gastroenterology department of the public hospital in Lamia and stole two diagnostic machines and four diagnostic device,s total worth 100,000 euros. The department was locked, the thieves slipped in through an elevator for personnel only.
How is it possible that an alleged group of people walks in a public hospital and leaves with bulky machines used for pulmonary and gastroenterology diagnosis? what are the security guards assigned to these hospitals doing, while bronchoscopes, gastroscopes and other devices worth thousands of euros disappear?
An epidemic that the management of hospitals, security and police seems unable to combat.
As the stolen devices have serial numbers it is clear that they cannot be used in Greece. And if they left the country, how did they manage to pass through the border controls?
So far, there has been no statement released, neither by the Greek Police nor by the Health Ministry. the hospital governors were unable to explain how the robberies could happen.
The robberies cause immense financial problems to the hospitals and big disturbance for the patients in need of diagnosis for serious health problems.
Media suggest of a mafia-style gang with a network operating across the country but also beyond the borders.
One of the scenarios claims that the Albanian mafia is in action, stealing and reselling the devices to Albania and Bulgaria. Another scenario claims of the possibility of a national gang that has good knowledge of hospitals infrastructure and the best times for a robbery.
Greece’s hospitals have indeed private security personnel. Too bad that at least in big hospitals -at least in Athens- security guards stand outside and often inside the emergency rooms taking care that patients keep the line properly.
The big question is: who could buy the stolen goods.