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VIP-ICU: Hospital workers accuse Greek gov’t of reserving ICUs beds for V.I.P.

Hospital workers in Greece accused the conservative government on Wednesday of reserving Intensive Care Units (ICU) beds for “Vre Important Patients”, Greeks now call VIP-ICU. The allegations come as over 100 intubated patients are been “treated” outside ICUs in hospitals across the country.

President of Hospital Workers Federation (POEDIN). Michalis Giannakos, said on Wednesday that of the 647 ICU beds in operation for Covid-19 patients across the country some 7%, that is a total of 47 beds remain closed because they are reserved for VIP-patients.

Speaking to Skai TV, Giannakos said VIP-ICU are, for example, at the public hospital of Red Cross (Erythros Stavros) in Athens as one with “closed” but empty ICU beds as well as KAT with two reserved ICU beds.

As example he referred to a couple aged 58 and 59, currently intubated outside ICU at the General Hospital in Nikaia, patients who were not transferred to KAT on Tuesday night despite the urgency.

On ICU “waiting lists there are only not VIP patients. There are not bishops or famous personalities,” he said hinding to the recent case of an 80-year-old Bishop infected with Covid-19 for whom a bed was found within hours in Athens, thus skipping the waiting list at Agrinio hospital in western Greece.

Citing official data, Giannakos added further that on Wednesday morning there were 114 intubated patients outside ICUs across the country.

“If you’re over 70 years old, you don’t get an ICU bed, unless you’re a bishop or a VIP,” Giannakos underlined to Mega TV.

The reaction of the Health Ministry was rather lukewarm and vague and just explained how the system works. Minister Thanos Plevris, dismissed the allegations saying the claim of “VIP-ICUs” was “fake news.” He urged people and critics to “ask doctors” on the issue.

He added that it is doctors who register patients in ICU need on the platform of the ambulance service EKAV. “All hospitals with empty ICU beds check the doctors’ requests and accept a patient based on medical criteria,” he said.

Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou told Skai TV “if there is evidence it should be denounced and investigated beyond any doubt. There are only health reasons according to which intubated patients and need ICU to be transferred to ICU.”

At least one doctor, Matina Pagoni told media (Mega TVv) that Giannakos’ allegations were not true and that doctors do not operate with medical criteria.

However, hospital doctors cannot know what the hospital managers do and if there is a political decision on the matter, as some media speculated.

In the country where an average of 100 Covid-patients die every day in the last couple of weeks, there have been rumors on VIP-ICUs claiming that “politicians, clergy and publishers” always find an ICU bed, after the Bishop case and the ICU-admission of a well-know journalist.

Yet, Giannakos revelations on VIP-ICU triggered an outrage on social media.Some Greek commented also with humor:

“There are ICU beds. You are not VIP.”

PS another possible explanation for the closed ICU-beds could be simply that they are donated but there is no medical and nursing staff to operate them.

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