ATHENS — The Drama General Hospital in northern Greece because the first to have its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) filled with COVID-19 patients as others around the country are overwhelmed and private hospitals still mostly unused.
The New Democracy government had said it would commandeer the private facilities used by those in the country who can afford them or private insurance but didn't even as public hospitals swelled with critical cases.
Ioannis Papadopoulos, who represents health care workers and employees at the hospital, told SKAI TV only four beds were free at the hospital’s Coronavirus ward, out of a total of 140 while all 12 ICU units were occupied.
Instead of having critical patients put in private hospitals, the government had three airlifted to Athens, where hospitals were also finding it difficult to cope, no reason given by the private hospitals or private doctors weren't being conscripted.
Rail service operator Trainose said it has prepared plans for the transfer of Coronavirus patients from the northern port city of Thessaloniki to Athens, having them taken on trains instead of hospitalized near where they live.
Each railwagon can be suited to carry between 30-40 patients, once the seats have been removed, the company said. It said the plan can be activated upon the request of the Health Ministry, said Kathimerini in a report.
Some private hospitals are being used for non-COVID-19 patients to free public hospital ICUs but most private doctors ignored the government's call for specialists and others offered aid but said they wouldn't touch Coronavirus cases.