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Prosecutor investigates death of Covid-patient who refused intubation

The public prosecutor in Athens has launched investigation into the death of a 54-year-old woman, a Covid-19 patient, who refused intubation while in the Intensive Care Unit and sought legal assistance to support her case with posts on social media. However, in the end, the patient was intubated and died.

The prosecutor now investigates not the medical or the nursing staff of the hospital but “third persons” who allegedly prevented the timely intubation of the patient.

The judicial authorities intervened on Friday morning, after a series of websites articles and posts on social media, according to which the patient was a pandemic denier, had underlying health problems, was not vaccinated against Covid-19 and allegedly appointed a lawyer to help her prohibit the doctors to intubate her.

According to reports, on August 13, the woman has posted on social media that she was tested positive with Covid-19. On August 21, she posted that she was seeking a lawyer to prevent her intubation and prohibit doctors from performing further acts. In her posted she called for “help” and had even posted the number of the room in the hospital where she was.

However, her health situation was critical, the hospital sought a prosecutor’s order who responded positive, doctors proceeded with her intubation, however, the 54-year-old did not make it.

Her husband, based on his social media posts also a corona- and vaccination-denier who announced her death on FB became target of many critical posts accusing him of bearing responsibility for his wife’s death.

According to reports, “the woman refused to be intubated due to low oxygen flow that blurred his judgement,” reports claimed .

The doctors of “Evangelismos” hospital finally proceeded to the patient’s intubation with an order by prosecutor, “as stipulated by law in cases of refusal by a patient and his family, during the proper performance of their duties.”

“Intubation is considered one-way when the oxygen saturation in the blood falls below 80% -75% and depending on the overall picture and the problems of each organism. According to the information, the patient’s oxygen had dropped so low that intubation was deemed necessary,” reported protothema

Legal issues: Patient’s consent vs doctors decisions

Director of the Nursing Service of the “Evangelismos” hospital, Dimitris Pistolas, told protothema that intubation of a patient is deemed necessary in case of hypoxemia, i.e. very low level of oxygen in the body, or serious electrolyte disorders. In both cases, the patient’s level of consciousness is disturbed.”

He added that in this condition, the patient is not able to decide on his treatment. “In such case, the consent of patient’s family is required, and in case of disagreement with the doctors, permission is sought from the prosecutor’s office to perform the necessary medical operation.”

In severe cases of Covid-19, patients very often do not realize the serious condition they are in, due to neurological and other disorders caused by the complications of the disease in their body, doctors say.

Director of the A’ ICU Clinic at Evangelismos, Pulmonary disease professor Spyros Zakynthinos told medial issues website iatropedia that they have intubated at least 25 coronavirus-patients refusing to give consent due to complications of the disease.

He said characteristically that the patients often do not realize the danger because they may not have breathing problems but suffer from low oxygen in their blood, they are afraid and ask why should I be intubated, I’d rather remain with the oxygen mask. Will we let them die because the coronavirus is as it is? Of, course, not.”

Felony offenses

The Prosecutor’s Office in Athens launched a preliminary investigation into the case, with the aim of verifying “the offense of the crime of fatal exposure to danger and moral instigation to it as well as the offense related to violations of the law on the transmission of infectious diseases.”

“The Prosecutor of the Court of First Instance will look for persons, outside the hospital, who allegedly prevented or prohibited the timely intubation of the patient,” state-run news agency amna reported.

According to Skai TV, there was a group on social media encouraging and inciting the 54-year-old woman to refuse the intubation.

Prohibit intubation: The new trend by pandemic-deniers?

Last month, a Covid-patient at the general hospital of Patras asked immediately for a lawyer when he was relieved from intubation and came back to his senses. Instead of thanking medical and nursing staff, he asked for a lawyer doubting that his intubation was due to illness with the coronavirus.

Doctors and nurses at the Patras hospital have complained that they face with many similar cases every day.

“It is not uncommon for relatives of unvaccinated patients call them and threaten them with lawsuits because, as they claim, their beloved ones are not infected with the virus and they were intubated for other reasons, which is hidden from them by doctors,”  the staff told media.

In another, more violent incident, a group of some 20 people, calling themselves “patient custodians”, stormed the pulmonology clinic at Thriasio hospital in Athens on August 29, harassing and threatening doctors and nurses, demanded that a 48-year-old patient not be transferred to another hospital where she should be intubated.

After receiving the consent of the 48-year-old patient and her family, doctors decided to transfer her to another hospital as it was deemed necessary to intubate her, however, there are no beds available in Thriasio.

Five people out of the twenty asked for the reason for the patient’s transfer. Among them was also the patient’s best woman.

Hospital guards who were at the scene notifying the police, news website thebest reported.

The Chairman of Hospital Employees at Thriasio, Manolis Vardavakis, complaineed that prior to the “storming” theye were targeted on social media with slanderous

A well-known lawyer active in the anti-vaxx movement had posted on social media describing the hospital employees as “murderers, liars and swindlers who intentionally infect patients with coronavirus in order to harm them,” Vardavakis told media.

He stressed that the group was organized and asked for additional measures so that they can operate as they should.

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