Neoliberalism and Incompetence Turn Greece into Bergamo

“Νο problem if intubated patients wait 24-48 hours for ICU bed, we give them oxygen,” says State Minister

March 24, 2021

Greek state minister Giorgos Gerapetritis is a lawyer and boviously a self-proclaimed pneumonologist specialized in Covid-19. “There is no problem if an intubated Covid-patient awaits 24-48 hours outside ICU,” he claimed on Wednesday. He said that “there is no need for additional ICU beds or requisition of private clinics< and added “we supply them with oxygen, anyway.”.

Gerapetritis’ cynical statement to Parapolitika FM,  came as two intubated patients died in Laiko Hospital after they had waited for an ICU bed for four days.

Tuesday afternoon, workers at public hospitals in Athens had said that over 60 intubated patients were waiting in normal wards for an ICU bed and some were even on ranch beds.

Public hospital doctors have already sound alarm over what they describe as “unmanageable waiting list for Covid -19 patients waiting for an ICU bed” and demand requisition of private hospitals.

Health experts and government officials see the next 10 days as a decisive test of the National Health System’s (ESY) resilience in the fight against the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 patients in ICU reached 699 on Tuesday.

Despite the allocation of two big Athens general hospitals into Covid-only facilities, the pressure on public hospitals remain immense and there are reports that authorities are considering to designate more general hospitals for Covid-patients only as of next week.

On Monday, the Health Ministry ordered the requisition of 206 private doctors’ services to assist the public health system.

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Public hospitals doctors are up in arms and their Federation OEGNE filed an indictment at prosecutor’s office of the Supreme Court regarding the treatment conditions of patients.

The Federation of Hospital Doctors Associations of Greece (OEGNE) stressed that on a daily basis, dozens of critically ill intubated patients are being treated outside ICUs in regular wards and on makeshift ventilators. It added that many of the doctors (including those requisitioned) lack the necessary specialization to treat Covid-19 patients.

OEGNE said that the responsibility for this lies solely with the government. “The government is the one that chooses to treat intubated patients outside the ICU, the government is the one that decides that Covid-19 patients are treated by doctors with irrelevant specialties,” it said, adding that “hospital doctors do not make any such choice.”

On November 24, when the second pandemic wave was sweeping across the country, state minister Gerapetritis had claimed that “if we had 5,000 ICU beds, we would have more deaths too.” That was full in accordance with the famous Trump logic “no tests – no infections” aka “no ICU – no deaths.”

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