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Greek Hospital Director Says COVID ICUs Not Saved for VIPs

December 12, 2021

ATHENS – Some Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in public hospitals are not being reserved for the privileged and politically connected in case they contract COVID-19, the director of that section at Athens Naval Hospital said.

Vasilios Bekos spoke to journalists at an extraordinary press conference organized by the Hellenic Intensive Care Society where he denied the claims first made by the head of the hospital workers union POEDIN about hospitals.

“Patients are not selected; they are screened. The screening concerns very serious scientific criteria that have been established by the Central Health Council. They are five pages of criteria covering five general categories of patients, with a rating of 1 to 5,” said Bekos, reported Kathimerini.

He said that, “There is nothing more offensive for a doctor and a nurse than to be accused of choosing one patient over the other,” following allegations that certain patients were being given priority.

He said the first category is patients with abnormal or unstable blood pressure who require respiratory support while the fifth includes patients who are brain dead, age or social status not considered when assigning ICU spots.

All patients requiring entry to ICU are entered on a waiting list, he said.

While the pandemic has seen an increase in the number of ICU beds to 1,280 in public, military and private hospitals, the problem is the lack of staff,” he continued although the New Democracy government hasn’t moved to recruit private clinics.

The director of the ICU of Evangelismos hospital, Anastasia Kotanidou, said she was upset with the allegations that also saw the major rival SYRIZA demand an investigation over riding deaths.

“Doctors are offended and frustrated by what has been heard lately,” she said although hospitals have admitted that they are intubating patients outside ICU units when they’re filled to capacity.

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