THESSALONIKI — "The situation currently prevailing in the public hospitals in northern Greece is tragic, while some bear criminal responsibility for this delay and inertia in northern Greece, especially in Thessaloniki," stated main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras after his meetings on Wednesday with the administration and the staff at Georgios Papanikolaou hospital in Thessaloniki.
"Our fear – as the system has crashed in northern Greece, with all the ICUs full – and our concern is that we don't find ourselves facing Bergamo-type conditions, meaning that we will be in the difficult position of having to choose which of the patients we will offer ICU assistance to," said Tsipras. Now that things had reached a crucial point, he added, "the effort must be to save what can be saved," and to this end he proposed the requisitioning of private-sector ICUs, the opening of the 424 Military Hospital of Thessaloniki to all patients and the strengthening of the public health system with infrastructure and staff.
The doctors and staff at the hospital referred to a lack of planning and staff shortages, adding that a selection of patients is already happening, not in COVID-19 cases but among those with other ailments, as there are orders to perform only 20 pct of scheduled surgeries.
The president of the employees at Papanikolaou hospital, Eleni Siotou, said that all 25 ICU beds and 82 COVID-19 beds available in the hospital are full, adding that 71 doctors, nurses or other staff of the hospital have been infected by the virus.