Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Greece, swine flu and me unbelievable - see Greece and die

In earlier postings I had mentioned the shortcomings of the Greek public health system. Well, this past 10 days I had the disputable honor of experiencing it myself.
Having returned from a short trip abroad on 17 July, I took suddenly ill in the evening with an unbearable headache. It continued on Saturday, accompanied by a raging temrparature of 39,7C and other typical symptoms of swine flu - sensitivity to light, muscle pain..
First visit is the public hospital in Nrthern Greece for treatment of swine flu. BUT ....
this hospital only accepts patients who have visited another hospital and have been referred by them. So off I go to the hospital on duty that particular Saturday. They decide quickly that I am a case for AHEPA - the hospital in northern Greec responsible for all swine flu tests.
In contrast to the media hype that preparations are complete for any major epidemic, AHEPA as center for diagnosis and treament of the virus did not have a doctor on duty - but they did have a doctor on call, so I would have to wait......outside in 37C as they could not find the key to open the isolation ward! Anyway, blood tests were eventually taken and I was sent home - the drug is only given after the virus has been confirmed!!
So off I went home trying to find a taxi that would take a passenger wearing a face mask. I was told to return the following day which I did. No results on Sunday as the laboratory was closed. Returned on Monday - still with 39.7C fever - and was told I may get the results that evening - 48 hours had passed. Monday evening the hospital called me at home - reults were negative. I asked what I shoudl do now as the symtpoms remained. Answer? "We don't know we are only responsible for diagnosis of swine flu." To be continued when I feel a little better.

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