OPINION

Suites and everyday life

Political discourse is usually fragmented and intended to mislead. Whether it aims to defend or attack, political rhetoric is discontinuous and superficial, nearly always centered on peripheral concerns. Everyday life is thereby portrayed as being detached from the broader world, as if it does not unfold in a complex environment. Corruption and political and business entanglement seem to be part of a separate realm, not the real world. These thoughts were sparked by a recent visit to Athens General State Hospital. Upon entering the facility you are overwhelmed by the reality of everyday life. You see endless queues of people, and doctors examining patients without an assistant or a secretary, calling up their patients and checking on priority lists; you see the dire state of outpatient departments. From the main gate you can see scaffolding in a poor imitation of a Calatrava design. Your initial surprise is soon succeeded by indignation, as you walk inside the building and realize that the clinic’s «renovation» consists of basic constructions whose projected cost is unknown. No signs are posted to inform the public about the works in progress. The question is, to what extent is the ongoing refurbishment of the clinic expected to improve patients’ and doctors’ everyday lives? The hospital staff are skeptical, sensing that these are superficial works aimed only at enriching those involved. The impression is reinforced by the interest of the regional head of the national health system, who recently asked how many suites the hospital can provide for the needs of the Greek EU presidency. When the man in charge of the works doesn’t even know that his clinic does not have even one single room and still he is asking about the number of suites, how can one hope the refurbishment will have any kind of positive impact?