Infant’s death points to failings

A newborn baby died in Athens yesterday after it took almost three hours for a specially equipped ambulance to arrive at the Tzaneio Hospital to transfer the infant to an intensive-care unit at Nikaia Hospital. The Health Ministry has ordered an investigation into the death. It also pledged to speed up plans to increase the number of ambulances equipped to deal with babies from two to five. The director of Tzaneio Hospital, Giorgos Misailidis, told Kathimerini that the unnamed child had been born prematurely on Thursday afternoon and was later found to have serious lung and heart problems. A call was place to the National First Aid Center (EKAB) at 4 a.m. yesterday requesting the child’s transfer. The head of EKAB’s medical services, Dimitris Pyrros, told Kathimerini that the center had also received a call 20 minutes earlier to pick up a baby that had been flown into the military airport at Elefsina, west of Athens. EKAB has only one ambulance suitable for transporting babies so officials contacted the Aghia Sofia Hospital, which has the only other ambulance in Athens that is equipped for the job. But the vehicle was not available as the incubator had been removed for use in the hospital. EKAB decided to first pick up the infant at Elefsina. The ambulance did not arrive at the Tzaneio Hospital until 6.50 a.m. The baby died en route to the hospital in Nikaia.

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