Greece 2023: Three more people die while waiting for ambulance

10:52 16.07.2023 •

Three more people have died since the weekend, while they were waiting for the ambulance. The one incident took place in Peristeri, suburb of western Athens, while the other two on the islands of Lesvos and Evia, writes Greek press.

The tragedies took place as the government tries to ‘recruit’ firefighters and armed forces members to work as ambulance crews without extra paying or hiring of skilled rescuers.

It should be recalled that another four people, among them two tourists, died in June because the ambulance arrived with delay or not at all.

On Thursday, the mayor of Psachna in Evia transferred with his own vehicle a 75-year-old man to the local health center. The man, a former goalkeeper of Panionios FC, was spending his summer vacations there and apparently suffered a brain stroke. There was no ambulance available to the area 50 km from Halkida and 30 km from Psachna.

The mayor told media that there only two ambulances for the region with 220,000 permanent residents and thousands of tourists every summer.

Last three incidents.

Evia. According to local media, a 76-year-old man died on Wednesday afternoon, July 5, in Mantoudi, Evia, as the ambulance was delayed.

The man fell sick and his family decided to transport him to the Health Center in their own vehicle, a rural pick up truck. The man died on the way there.

The man’s family said that they called an ambulance, but in the second call made to EKAV service, they were informed that there was no driver available for the ambulance.

Lesvos. An 80-year-old woman lost consciousness after she came out of the sea at the Gavaths beach.

Other beach-goers called the ambulance service and the vehicle had to come from Kalloni, 1.5 hous away.

The woman died while waiting for the ambulance, she was taken to Adissa Health Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The doctor and former deputy mayor, Michalis Roussis, who was on duty at the Antissa Health Center at that time, stated that the island’s ambulance had to respond to three incidents at the same time, including a drowning.

Speaking to local media, Roussis said, among others “we have two new ambulances but no drivers”.

Referring to shortages at the Adissa Health Center Roussis described doctors’ on-call duty as a “Russian roulette.” “You never know what’s going to happen on your shift. If you’re going to have one or two serious incidents, if you’re going to have a car accident with a serious injury. Unfortunately as it stands there are 9-10 vacant ambulance driver shifts a month unfilled and in case of emergency the EKAV ambulance arrives in 2 hours from Mytilini and in 1.5 hours if it is located in Kalloni.”

He added that on weekend evenings there is neither a nurse to support the service nor a person for the laboratories.

Peristeri, Athens. The third victim is a 52-year-old doctor, father of two minors, who suffered a heart attack and died due to not available ambulance but also due to lack of medical support in a private clinic.

“We have no ambulance to send you,” was the information the ambulance service gave to the man’s wife who called the EKAV immediately after her husband collapsed, daily ‘Efsyn’ reported.

The relatives asked if they should take him to Attiko hospital located 500 meters from their home. they were told not to do so because the hospital was on on duty for emergencies. They were instead told to take him to Gennimatas hospital at the other end of Athens.

As the man had a private insurance and in absence of any other alternative, they decided to transport him in their own vehicle to the nearest private clinic in the same suburb.

Arriving there, the patient underwent a cardiogram and they were told that they cannot intubate him. They told the pale, suffering man in big pain that he has to be transferred to the other clinic of the group in Maroussi in northern Athens “to be intubated there.”

However, there was no ambulance immediately available at the private clinic to take him to Maroussi.

70 minutes after the first call for an ambulance, his wife received an EKAV phone call asking if they still needed an ambulance.

The man died in the private clinic almost two and a half hours after the first symptoms of the heart attack.

P.S. It is truly tragic that people lose their life while helplessly waiting for an ambulance in Greece 2023.


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