Guardian journalist Antony Loewenstein continues his travelogue in Athens, Greece and comments on the Greek healthcare system.
A recent incident where an unemployed and uninsured patient suffering heart disease was not accepted in the hospital, reflects the tragic situation in Greek hospitals. The 54-year-old man needed emergency heart surgery. However the hospital had refused to admit him, fearing they would never get paid. As reported, the matter was solved after the intervention of the metropolitan community clinic in Hellenico.
These incidents are common in Greece where black economy, corruption and opacity prevail, notes the article. The Guardian, after visiting the community clinic describes its valuable services. The clinic is situated on an old U.S. army base and has helped 28,000 people since it began operating in 2011.
The spokesman of the clinic Christos Sideris told Lowenstein: “The clinic only accepts the poor and unemployed, people who have no insurance, those on low wages and pensions, all ages and sexes and even former industrialists who have fallen from financial highs,” he said. “Neoliberal ideology is putting money above people’s lives,” he added.
The journalist notes that this clinic is necessary in Athens which is hit by extreme poverty, suicides and drug abuse. ‘Every time I catch a train around Athens, I see Greeks begging for money or selling small pens for a pittance,” he says.
The article also mentions the fired cleaners of the Finance Ministry who have become the “symbol of opposition against a state bureaucracy that prefers to talk of selling public assets to appease the EU and arrest the financial decline.”
The article concludes citing the claim of philosopher Slavoj Žižek who argued that only a radicalized left can save Europe and thus Greece. The power of the left is growing but it has to fight with the right-wing rhetoric that is also developing in Greece.