Society healthcare in the Greek Islands
Sometimes it’s very hard to imagine that some things that we mostly take for granted; can be in fact a luxury for other people in society. Whom are not fortunate enough to live near a very big city. This summer, I had an experience during my holidays in the beautiful island of Kalymnos. Which made me understand that quite a lot of people do not have the same opportunities as others. When health is considered in this situation, things can go very bad easily. It can become dangerous, even for the life of some society.
My wife and I decided to take our 3-year-old son to spend a few days relaxing in the beautiful Greek island called Kalymnos. That is in the Aegean sea. Just a few miles west of the Turkish coast line. On the middle-east part of Greece. It’s not such a popular tourist destination. This is because the island is pretty small. There are not many clubs, bars and nightlife for party animals. In fact, most people visiting the Kalymnos society are families with small kids. Or pensioners who just want to go and relax under the hot Greek summer. Enjoy the wonderful beaches of the island. As well as the hospitality of the locals and the delicious local cuisine.
We booked a nice hotel very near the best beach of the island at Masouri. In fact, the beach was just a few steps from the back of the hotel. It was really wonderful. Me, my wife and our little son were having a nice time in the first couple of days. But then an unexpected incident spoilt our fun.
The beach accident
My son Achilles was playing on the beach with the sand, when suddenly slipped over some plastic toys he had spread around the beach and fell. Normally, there would be nothing to worry about because we are talking about a sandy beach. But he was unfortunate enough to fall on a rock and hit his head. I mean he was really very unfortunate because only a few couple of rocks were scattered around the whole beach and we hit the “jackpot”.
We became really concerned because apart from the blood, that was because of a minor cut on the back of the head, the small boy started complaining that he was in pain and that he was not feeling very well. The thing that scared me the most was that he told us that he could not see clearly from his left eye! I tried to remain calm but my wife was in shock.
Seeking healthcare in the society
Fortunately, a local employee of the hotel we were staying told us where we could find immediate medical assistance. She led us to the village infirmary where the doctor took a first look at the kid and gave him the first aid, but told us that we would have to go to the hospital that was about 10 km away from where we were. He also informed us that there was no ambulance on the island and so we called a taxi and got to the hospital.
Although the hospital in the island has many doctors it lacks medical equipment. The doctors examined the child and seemed to be rather skeptical. They said that there was not immediate danger for the life of Achilles, but a CT scan was really needed because of the symptoms, to make sure everything is ok. Of course that was impossible in Kalymnos. We would have to go either to Crete, Rhodes or Athens to do so. There were two options; One, by boat, that would require at least 12 hours to get there. And by plane, that was less than an hour to fly to Athens.
There was really nothing to think about
We took a taxi again and reached the airport and were very fortunate to arrive just 1 hour before the scheduled daily flight to Athens. Then we faced another problem. The flight is made with a small 36 seat plane and all seats were booked. For security reasons no more persons could go on the flight. We were trying to find a solution with the society at the airport when two really kind tourists from Sweden approached us and said that they could offer their tickets and they could leave the next day since they were not in a hurry.
So the society and individuals at the airport changed the tickets and we finally reached Athens a few minutes later where an ambulance was already waiting at the airport. The kid was transferred to a nearby hospital and after making all necessary medical exams we found out that there was nothing serious to worry about.
Medical shortages and society problems
The thing is that such urgent medical situations happen all the time in Greece, especially during summer. Society located on the islands do not have the opportunity to enjoy the same healthcare as society on the mainland. The financial crisis in the country has affected things even worse since there are more shortages in medical personnel, equipment and medical supplies.