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Greece’s Health Ministry blames doctors for Covid-deaths outside ICUs

Deputy Health Ministry Vassilis Kontozamanis blamed the doctors for the deaths of Covid-19 patients outside ICUs and not the shortage of beds in the country’s Intensive Care Units. The Deputy Minister did not give any data about the death rates in and outside ICUs, neither did he commit himself to do so in the future.

Responding to a question of a medical news website iatronet.gr, regarding the news that “80% of Covid-patients’ deaths occured outside ICUs,” Kontozamanis said:

“All patients had access to the ICU and that the criterion for their admission was not the adequacy or not of the beds, but the comorbidity and the choices made by the hospital doctors.”

End of December, Vassilis Tsaousidis, a professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Democritus University of Thrace, made a revealing analysis on this issue:

  • “during the outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic in autumn/winter and as the pressure in the hospitals increased, the number of patients in the ICU was unable to follow linearly the evolution of the number of infected.”

“The proportion of patients admitted to the ICU and those who died is relatively stable and normal from the beginning of the pandemic. In the process, however, as the pressure increased, an increasing percentage of patients began to stay out of the ICU and eventually the number of patients outside the ICU and deaths increased exponentially. The percentage of those who ended up without being admitted to the ICU seemed to exceed 80%,” Tsaousidis wrote in his analysis.

Based on data released by the National Health Organization EODY on Friday, the number of Covid-19 patients discharged from ICUs since the outbreak in late February 2020, is 950 and the Covid-19 death toll is 5,195.

According to Tsaousidis, a total of 4,013 Covid-patients died October 27-December 27, 2020. A totl of 580 patients were discharged from the ICUS in the same period.

Given that the expected mortality in ICUs is about 50% (or even 60%) , the total number of patients who have been in ICUs is 1,900 (950 discharges and 950 deaths). Thus, 3,200 patients appear to have lost their lives outside the ICU, Tsaousidiiatornet note.

The hospitalization of serious cases outside the ICU seems to have been on the agenda, especially in Thessaloniki, where the intensive care units operated for a long time with 99% capacity in November and December.

Website iatronet posed the relevant question at the live briefing on Friday, the Deputy Health Minister responded without giving specific data on the issue and blamed the doctors, while the other two members from the Health Ministry, Papaevangelou and Majiorkinis, who are medical professors and members of the epidemiology committee had nothing to say.

Deputy minister Kontozamanis appeared to believe that the number of Covid-19 ICUs is sufficient and it is solely the responsibility of the medical staff whether patients will be admitted to them or not.

Apart from being self-satisfied, the Health Ministry should answer crucial questions such as: how many Covid-patients died outside ICU, why 4:5 patients die outside the ICUs, how many patients needed ICU but no bed was available and why no equivalent increase of ICU beds occurred when the number of patients hospitalized in Covid-clinics was skyrocketing.

Noe that the daily bulletins issued by EODY make reference only to the number of intubated Covid-19 patients, not to those in ICUs and those to normal wards in Covid-clinics.

PS The times when the Prime Minister’s wife was calling on people to go out to balconies and clap in gratitude for the doctors fighting the pandemic are long gone. The government continues its pandemic PR policy in the direction of “we did and do everything right.” After blaming solely the citizens for every covid infection and increase, now it is the turn of the doctors…

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