ICU doctors insist patients are ‘screened, not selected’

ICU doctors insist patients are ‘screened, not selected’

A leading ICU doctor said on Friday that “there is nothing more offensive for a doctor and a nurse than to be accused of choosing one patient over the other,” following allegations that certain patients have been fast-tracked into intensive care.

Vasilios Bekos, director of the ICU of Athens Naval Hospital, was speaking at an extraordinary press conference organised by the Hellenic Intensive Care Society.

“Patients are not selected; they are screened. The screening concerns very serious scientific criteria that have been established by the Central Health Council. They are five pages of criteria covering five general categories of patients, with a rating of 1 to 5,” he said.

The first category concerns patients with abnormal or unstable blood pressure who require respiratory support while the fifth includes patients who are brain dead. In the latter case, ICU can provide them with a more dignified death, he said, adding that neither age or social status is considered when admitting patients to ICU.

All patients requiring entry to ICU are entered on a waiting list, he said.

While the pandemic has seen an increase in the number of ICU beds to 1,280 in public, military and private hospitals, the problem is the lack of staff,” he continued.

“Unfortunately there is no specialised ICU staff.”

For her part, the director of the ICU of Evangelismos hospital, Anastasia Kotanidou, expressed her sadness and disappointment at hearing the recent allegations about ICUs.

“Doctors are offended and frustrated by what has been heard lately.”

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