Not Enough ICU Beds Brings Rise in Greek Flu Deaths

(FILE -EUROKINISSI/TATIANA BOLARI)

ATHENS – A lack of beds and staff at Intensive Care Units (ICU) in Greek hospitals has seen the number with flu – most didn’t get shots – getting ill or dying rising, with four fatalities in the last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) said.

At the same time, 21 flu patients were admitted to ICUs, raising the number of serious cases in Greek hospitals to 36, said Kathimerini.

KEELPNO said 86 percent of them were categorized as high-risk but only three had gotten the preventive shot against the illness, which is particularly hard on young children, the elderly, pregnant women or people with chronic conditions.

On Jan. 17, a 67-year-old woman died in the main hospital on Zakynthos after waiting 15 days for an ICU bed at a state hospital. According to the public hospital workers’ union, it was the third such death in as many days.

A third patient who had been waiting for a place in an intensive care unit died in a hospital in Zakynthos, the union of public hospital workers (POEDIN) said.

Three patients had been hospitalized in Zakynthos since early January, waiting to be transported. One of them died on Jan. 6 after being transferred with delay at a hospital in Rio, while a male patient died in Zakynthos on Jan. 16.

The hospital’s ICU was completed in 2012 but lacks the specialized personnel to staff it, which means patients who need such care have to be sent to other hospitals in the country, the paper said.

POEDIN said in its press release “it is imperative to use the 150 beds in ICUs which are equipped but do not operate due to a lack of staff.”