ATHENS – Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris said there’s no truth to suggestions that public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) with ventilators to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic are being reserved for the privileged.
He said the stories circulating were “fake news,” but didn’t say if those caught spreading it would be prosecuted under a new law against the spread of misinformation about the pandemic.
The word going around, it was indicated said Kathimerini, is that the units were being saved for VIP patients such as doctors and high-ranking Bishops, stories he said “offend doctors.”
“Regarding the complaints that there is selective admission of patients to ICUs, it should be clarified that the patients who need an ICU are declared by doctors on the relevant platform,” he said, the newspaper reported.
“All hospitals that have empty ICU beds see the requests and, based on medical criteria, they accept the patient into the empty ICU bed that they have following a decision made by doctors,” he said.
“Those who circulate fake news operate as slanderers and are accountable to the doctors, whom they insult,” he added.
He was responding to Michalis Giannakos, President of the National Federation of Greek Hospital Workers (POEDIN), who told SKAI TV there are only 47 ICU beds available in the country but 114 patients on waiting lists.
Asked if he believed some hospitals keep those beds empty for possible “VIP” patients, he said, “Yes,” indicating they are.
Plevris didn’t say why the New Democracy government hasn’t moved to recruit private clinic beds and ICUs saved for the wealthy and those who can afford the health insurance to go there, which include those who shun public hospitals.
There have also been reports that some critically ill patients are being put into makeshift ICU units in hospitals as the number of people on ventilators has soared during a resurging health crisis as the governmen concentrates on the economy.