Alarm sparked by study into hospital deaths
The inequality in care levels between Attica and the rest of Greece, the correlation of the number of patients admitted to Covid-19 ICUs and mortality, as well as the high number of deaths among patients treated outside ICUs were highlighted in a study led by assistant professor of public health at Cyprus’ European University Theodore Lytras and Athens Medical School professor Sotiris Tsiodras.
The research, based on the data of intubated Covid-19 patients from September 1, 2020 to May 6, 2021 and published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, stressed that while public health services in Greece have increased significantly during the pandemic, the quality of health under the pressure of more hospital admissions has received less attention.
The researchers found that increased pressure on hospitals has led to higher mortality among intubated patients. Moreover, they said the risk of death increases for every hundred patients intubated. More specifically, they found that when more than 400 patients are intubated at the same time, the risk of death increases an average of 1.25 times compared to numbers below 400.
They added that when this number exceeds 800 the risk is 1.57 times higher. Patients intubated in Attica hospitals had the highest chance of survival, with the probability of death increasing by 35% for patients in Thessaloniki and 40% for patients elsewhere.
“This highlights the need for more substantial strengthening of healthcare services, focusing on equity and quality of care besides just expanding capacity,” the report said.
Based on the data, the researchers conclude that a total of 1,535 deaths could have been avoided if fewer patients had been hospitalized in the National Health System (less than than 200 intubated in total), if all were in ICUs and if they were in Attica.