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6-year-old boy “brain-dead” after 300km adventure for ICU bed

6-year-old boy Thomas was declared “brain-dead” after a 300-km adventure with ambulance though western Greece to get an ICU bed. It is the second case in just two days that a child that had to be transported hundreds of kilometers from northern Greece to the south for an ICU bed.

Thomas suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in the family  home on Wednesday morning in his hometown Grevena, in NW Greece.

An ambulance was called, however, there was no ICU bed in the local hospital for the child that was struggling for life.

There was neither an ICU bed available in the nearest bigger city, Thessaloniki.

Eventually, an ICU bed was found in Rio hospital in Patras, 303 km away.

While on Ionian highway, the ambulance broke down and another vehicle had to be deployed to pick up the boy.

The transport that was supposed to last 3 hours lasted much longer.

Crucial time for the child’s survival was wasted due to an adventurous transport in a country where the political leadership drives the public health care system to collapse.

Upon arrival In Rio hospital, the boy was intubated and doctors did everything they could to keep him alive, local media tempo24.news reported.

On Thursday, in a last-ditch effort to save the child, therapeutic hypothermia of the brain was performed, in order to protect him from cerebral edema. Doctors also performed a genetic control in order to determine a possible genetic background that caused the sudden cardiac arrest.

On Friday, doctors declared the child was brain-dead.

Amid the deep grief, his parents agreed for their child’s organs to be transplanted and save the lives of other children.

The National Transplant Organization has been informed and the protocol procedures have been launched.

According to media, as the donor was a young child the organs are expected to be donated to children abroad.

Beginning of the week, another child, a 3-year-old from Kozani, northern Greece, had to be transported with an ambulance to Athens, 307 km away as there was no ICU bed in the local hospital. A day later, also his 2-year-old sister was transferred from a hospital in Thessaloniki to a children’s hospital in Athens. Both children have pneumonia and the boy has been intubated. The 45-day-old baby of the family that developed similar symptoms remains in the children hospital in Kozani.

On social media, Greeks lash out at the Health Minister and the government policy recalling that helicopters had picked up both a high-ranking clergy last year and the foreign minister last week from Mount Athos.

*thumbnail picture: archive

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  1. There are a lot of military helicopters, and no one called for one?
    This is so greek as it can get… pseftila!
    Poor patents…

  2. I was under the impression we had more ICU beds after the Covid crisis. This is really a tragedy. Again, Greece prefers to invest in military purchases, police patrol everywhere, but not crucial services like safer schools (the boy falling out the window in Thessaloniki, the school door blast killing a child in Serres), fighting wildfires (I am sure this summer they will act surprised when it happens and they will explain again how they can’t prepare for natural disasters ), and lack of key medical infrastructure.

    I’m going to guess that this happening during the holiday period added to the problems. My guess is that the smart employees who might have helped were not available.. Most doctors are not available over the holiday period. I actually experienced a health problem these days but I have been unable to get a clinic appointment until next week, and that itself was not easy to get.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      the problem is: ICU beds for children who are special patients exist only in childrne hospital clinics in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras (from what i learned)