The Children’s Hospital in Athens
Living in the greater Athens area bears some refreshing surprises. This past week-end I became acquainted with Greek Hospital Standards as we had to leave YorgoMan (12) at the Athens Children’s Hospital to fix his wrecked up neck.
But let’s start from scratch. Vouliagmeni is about 25 kilometers south of Athens, but part of the greater Athens Metropolitan Area. There are plenty of hospitals in our area and communities nearby, but when a child needs hospital treatments, there is only one unique place for the 5 Million people of Athens and beyond: the Children’s Hospital north of the center of Athens. Even if you bring your kid to another institution for emergency treatments, they refuse treatment and you are sent to that one only central hospital which in the best of the cases is 45 minutes away. With normal traffic it takes you an hour and when there is the typical Athens Traffic mess, you better take some snacks along.
It must be said: the hospital has a great reputation and top-notch medical staff. In general, it can be said that the staff is not only competent but also devoted to their tasks, however the whole institution is victim of lacking finances and compared to any central European Children’s hospital, simply an amazing place …!
Mind you, hospitals in Greece will always amaze you anyway.
Architecture and Impressions
The Architecture is a nice example of post war functional design. It must have been an award-winning building at its time.
I likes mainly the stair case as well as the perspectives offered by the corridors and halls – from a photographic point of view of course :-). And then, while the colors are children-friendly, the impressions you can collect at night are quite interesting. I shot some quick pics, just for the impressions and under #iphoneography :
A noisy night vision …
Closer to reality …
Staff and Strikes
Entering the hospital, you get immediately a taste of today’s Greece. Strike at the reception!
Talking about strike and lacking infrastructure: YorgoMan shared his room with 4 other kids, one of which from Agrinio, a city on the other side of Greece (west). That kid was supposed to leave hospital last Thursday, however no Ambulance could be found to take him back home under appropriate conditions. He was still there when we left today.
The high reputation of the Hospital, one of the best for children in South East Europe if not the best, attracts people from all over Greece, including the islands. Some of the kids we met came from Zakinthos, Megara (on the way to Corinth) and then of course from Athens.
Parents take care of the kids
Thinking that the staff would look after the kids needs during the night, we left our boy the first night by himself; a big error as we should learn. In fact, it is expected that parents assure a 24/24 presence to take care of their child.
Also if you want a pillow or a cover for your kid, you bring it from home.
The System Works
In spite of the above, the Greek system works! It may be a matter of culture, tradition or just a way of doing things,but public health in Greece and namely of Greek Children is not worse than elsewhere in Europe, all to the contrary. In Greece the family still is the basic building block of society even if in recent years with increasing prosperity more individualism is pointing at the horizon. The present crises and austerity measures may well lead us back to stronger cohesion at family level rather than to a social collapse as some predict.
I Greeks I trust, forget about the Government!