"You were unlucky…" – a shocking story in a children’s hospital "Agia Sophia"

“I have experienced firsthand the indifference and cynicism with which Greeks are treated in public hospitals,” says the journalist. Giorgos Manettas.

Unfortunately, the other day I had to visit the emergency room at the children’s hospital “Agia Sophia”. There I personally experienced the suffering of our “unfortunate” fellow citizens.

Early Sunday morning, around 5 am, my four-year-old son and I walked through the hospital gates. Excruciating pain in his right arm from a blow received the day before on the playground, did not allow him to sleep. The doctor’s visit could not be postponed. The reception at the hospital was exemplary and did not at all foreshadow what was to come…

The porter notified the medical staff of our arrival and indicated the place where we should go. With a quick step, at the direction of the medical staff, we went to the doctor’s office, where we were to be examined by the pediatric orthopedist on duty. We sat in the waiting room and patiently waited for our turn. The document says 17:22. From here our Golgotha ​​began…

I assumed, erroneously, that the doctor’s appointment would not take long to examine us, since there was no one in front of us. There was a child in the doctor’s office – as far as I could tell, of French origin, about ten years old. And no one else to check. Well, we were next.

After about 40 minutes of waiting and the baby complaining of pain, I went to the doctor. The answer I received to the question of “when will he examine the child” was condescendingly unacceptable and infuriating. “Do you need surgery?” the doctor asks me. I answer him: “If I had known, I would not have come to you.” He looks at me with an annoyed expression and returns to examine. And we are in our place.

About a quarter of an hour later, a nurse passes by and gives us a priority card. I made the mistake of asking her if it was customary in the emergency department to delay seeing patients, especially small children who needed special attention. Clearly annoyed, she replies, “The doctor’s in the office” (she probably meant there is a doctor), and takes the initiative to enter the doctor’s office herself.

The doctor comes out and says, “I have a serious emergency.” And I answer him: “Is there another doctor to examine us, since you are busy?” Yes, he replies, but he’s in surgery right now. I raise my hands and ask the last question: “Doctor, if the delay is critical to my child’s recovery, what will happen?” And I get a monumental response. I would like to believe that even in a third world country, a person who took the Hippocratic oath would not say this: “You are out of luck …”. I was literally speechless.

Then I felt the indifference and cynicism with which the “unfortunate” Greeks are treated in public hospitals. Complete disappointment. Finally, after almost two hours, we were examined by another doctor. Luckily, the baby didn’t have anything serious. The x-ray was clear. As a reward, he received an impromptu splint (a strap for hanging his arm) and rest for three or four days.

The incident, in addition to personal suffering, causes deep sadness and anger for another reason. Because it happened just 24 hours after the tragic incident of a 49-year-old man in Patras who lost his life due to neglect.

I don’t believe that I am the only one who suffers from such problems in public hospitals. Obviously, the healthcare system is suffering. And it suffers mainly from the mindset that drives its human resources. Mainly because those who compose it do not realize that their destiny is to serve the person, and they are obliged to offer their services to fellow citizens.

Unfortunately, applause for doctors during a pandemic does not seem to have done any good …

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