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Thessaloniki: Relative of Covid-patient was offered “ICU bed” for €3,500

A public prosecutor in Thessaloniki investigates incidents where people approach relatives of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 promising an Intensive Care Unit bed for a price of over 3,5000 euros. Hospitals in Thessaloniki have been reporting daily of the shortage of ICU beds and many intubated patients in regular wards. Taking advantage of patients’ and their relatives’ anxiety other people have been offering drugs against Covid-19 or even monoclonic antibodies.

The latest incident was reportedly a woman who called a patient’s wife offering her an ICU bed for the price of 3,500 euros. The man is hospitalized in Agios Pavlos hospital and he is intubated outside the ICU.

According to the commander of Agios Pavlos  Odysseas Katsakas, he received a call by a policeman on Rhodes last week that the ICU bed was offered by a woman to his father-in-law, intubated outside the ICU.

The woman claimed she was a hospital official with “great power” in the facility and “knowledge of the coronavirus and intubations.” She told the patient’s daughter if she wanted that the father remains alive -which “was possible only if he is transferred to ICU” – the daughter must give her 3,500 euros.

The policeman handed over to the commander both the data of his father-in-law, his wife but also some contact data of the alleged scammer.

Sources of the Health Ministry told news website newsit, that there are scammers in hospitals, mainly in northern Greece who locate people who are being treated in serious conditions in hospitals and under the pretext that they will find for them an ICU bed, drugs against Covid-19 or even the new monoclonal antibodies extract thousands of euros from the patients’ desperate relatives.

Note that only 2,000 doses of monoclonic antibodies have arrived in Greece via the EU and are administered under a very strict protocol in just ten hospitals across the country.

According to Katsakas, there was a similar incident of ICU bed offer also for a patient in Papanikolaou hospital.

The commander handed over to First Instance Prosecutor of Thessaloniki all available data he had in the case and said that “such incidents happen without knowledge of the administration.”

PS the question is, of course, how the scammers get the phone numbers of the patients’ relatives; due to Covid-protocol relatives are not allowed to visit their beloved ones, however, their phones numbers are registered on the hospital records for any case.

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One comment

  1. The scammers job is made easier by a long history of some doctors demanding fakalaki in order to move patients up waiting lists. When someone is contacted by a scammer they are more likely to believe them if they already have a mindset that this is how the system works. I believe it is a small minority of doctors who do this but their activities have been widely published in the media.