Fatalities from infections at Greek public hospitals twice compared to EU

2016-11-23 15:18:43 GMT2016-11-23 23:18:43(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

ATHENS, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Patients admitted to Greek public hospitals face twice the risk of contracting and dying from infections compared to the EU average, according to the union of state hospital employees (POEDIN).

The union attributed the level of fatality to shortages in staff, medical equipment and basic sanitation materials thanks to austerity measures implemented since 2010 to tackle the country's debt crisis.

Approximately 5 percent of patients admitted to European hospitals contract infections, POEDIN President Michalis Giannakos told a press conference after a 39-year old former lawmaker died in the intensive care unit of a private hospital after contracting an infection during a routine surgery.

Giannakos painted a bleak picture of public hospitals in the debt laden country, presenting numbers and examples, conveying the message that "austerity kills."

On average, a nurse in a Greek public hospital takes care of about 40 patients, he said, stressing that there is no time for them to follow hygiene protocols.

Besides, due to a shortage in bed linen, patients are placed in beds that have not been disinfected, Giannakos said, adding that sometimes, they have to bring their own bed linen, blanket, toilet paper, gauze and antiseptics.

According to POEDIN, a night shift cleaner is responsible for the whole hospital with 700 beds on average.

Xinhua reporters visited two public hospitals in the Greek capital Athens and witnessed the situation described by POEDIN.

Earlier this week, public hospital nurses held an overnight symbolic protest outside the Health Ministry with candles requesting immediate measures to address the problems.