A Greek hospital’s ICU mortality rate is almost 100 percent, according to a report released by the hospital workers union POEDIN on Thursday.
Agrinio Hospital, in western Greece, has an ICU with a five bed capacity which has been treating severe COVID-19 cases since October 2020. POEDIN figures attest to 35 out of 40 total ICU patients having passed away while receiving treatment at the hospital.
Greek hospital ICU mortality rate scandal
However, the Greek hospital’s ICU scandal deepened over the course of last week. Media reported on Friday that from a total of 41 patients which had been hospitalized in the Covid-ICU of the hospital, 40 passed away, with the most recent tragic death having occurred that very morning.
This new information brings Agrinio Hospital’s mortality rate close to 100 percent in their coronavirus ICU treatment wing. The scandal led to the forced resignation of the hospital’s president on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the hospital was also receiving patients transferred from other areas for COVID-19 intensive care. The Greek government has decided to intervene in the issue, with moves so far focusing on the disgraced hospital president.
Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis warned the Agirinio hospital president on Saturday that he would be removed from his post if he had not resigned by Monday.
New Democracy MP Marios Salmas who visited Agrinio Hospital on Saturday accused the president of negligence and ignorance, alleging that in response to queries about the issues in the ICU the man retorted that he was “just an accountant.”
Salmas also claimed that a criminal investigation may be launched by the Agrinio prosecutor’s office.
“We will see what has happened, we will evaluate the situation, but I emphasize it again, this must be a restart for the hospital of Agrinio. Do not sow panic and fear in the world.
“Our fellow citizens must feel safe because all units of the National Health System provide adequate health services. We need a new beginning,” said Kontozamanis of Greek hospital ICU conditions.
A wider issue at hand?
Despite the government claiming that all the fault lies with the president of Agrinio Hospital, other healthcare workers and much of the media are convinced the horrific statistics from the ICU wing have more to do with systemic issues.
POEDIN, the original whistleblowers for this issue, attributes high mortality rates in the ICUs of many hospitals in the country to the systemic issues present in the underfunded National Health System.
The hospital workers union allege the pandemic has meant ICUs are operating with fewer staff than essential and they must therefore improvise in order to meet the increased need.
The President of POEDIN, Michalis Giannakos, has pointed to other Greek hospitals with abhorrent conditions in their ICUs.
He underlined that the ICU in the Greek city of Edessa was makeshift, but has six beds. Their mortality rate is 100 percent, according to the POEDIN president.
Many factors which could likely be rectified have led to this unnecessary and disproportional loss of life, according to Giannakos.
“The number of people hospitalized at once in coronavirus wards, the timely intubation of patients before the condition is irreversible, the timely delivery to ICUs without the need to sit on an endless waiting list, the choice of patients for ICU admission using age criteria, the option to stay in the ICU after the intubation for follow-up,” are some of the ways in which the National Health Service could improve mortality rates, according to Giannakos.
The president of POEDIN also advocated for the president of Agrinio Hospital, intimating that the responsibility for the failures there lies elsewhere. He stated that the ICU repeatedly requested specialized staff to improve conditions, but that only two assistant doctors and some less needed nursing staff was transferred there.