Σάββατο, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Inside The Dramatic Collapse Of Greece's Healthcare System



This article by Benoît Vitkine on Le Monde was translated by WorldCrunch and syndicated here.

THESSALONIKI - It was in 2009 – what feels like ages ago now - that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that the Greek healthcare system was "rather efficient."

Around that very same time, doctors in Thessaloniki successfully cured “Mrs. I.” from melanoma. When her cancer came back three years later, they did not even try. “Mr. I.” asked to remain anonymous when telling his wife's story.
"Doctors prescribed a treatment, but since it was potentially quite expensive, it had to be approved by a commission of doctors and hospital administration officials," he explained. "They denied treatment. One of the members of the commission took me aside and told me, ‘We had to make a choice and we are going to keep this money to heal children. Your wife is 62, let her die at home.’”
This is an extreme and isolated case, but in every one of Thessaloniki’s 13 hospitals, in Greece’s second largest city, doctors are “playing God,” as Leta Zotaki, head of the radiology service of Kilkis Hospital in the north of the city, puts it. "When we start running out of x-ray films, we have to decide who needs to be examined first; we trade with other hospitals or ask the patients to pay for the film,” explains this trade unionist, who saw her 4,000 euro salary cut by half, and whose night shift hours have not been paid since May.