Medical Errors That Shook Greece

Medical Errors That Shook Greece

From incorrect medical assessments and contaminated blood transfusions, to errors that left patients paralyzed or with serious disabilities, physicians in Greece have also had their share of failures over the past years and were involved in medical errors.

On the occasion of the Papageorgiou Hospital in northern Greece, which is planning to introduce a mobile phone signal jammer for its operating rooms so that physicians won’t be able to use their cell phones while operating, let us remember some of the most famous Greek stories surrounding medical errors.

1. A polyp removal surgery in a hospital in Central Greece was treated by experienced physicians as a routine surgery. However, due to prolonged accidental brain hypoxemia and the subsequent tissue hypoxia, the patient was starved of oxygen and fell into a coma, leaving the patient in a persistent vegetative state. The patient was awarded €500.000 as compensation.

2. A patient in northern Greece underwent surgery for the removal of a small tumor in an adrenal gland. Due to severe post-operative pain, he underwent another surgery in another hospital, where it was revealed that the first surgery didn’t remove the tumor but a part of the healthy right adrenal gland. Compensation over €100.000 plus legal interest was awarded to the patient.

3. A medical error during a thyroid surgery led to the injury of the patient’s vocal chords, which subsequently left her paralyzed. The patient faced severe breathing problems, her voice become very rough and bass, and eventually she lost her voice. The compensation was €100.000.

4. During a root canal surgery, a dentist used an inadequate needle, causing the corrosive liquid to coagulate and splash resulting in built-up pressure all over the patient’s eye. The liquid caused severe burns to the eye tissue and left the patient with a permanent disability. A compensation of €30.000 plus legal interest was awarded to the patient.

5. A hospital in northern Greece was forced to pay damages amounting €700.000 for the transfusion of blood contaminated with HIV to a young girl, who was exposed to the virus. It was later established that the hospital didn’t provide the potential blood donors with comprehensive questionnaires, and omitted questions about the sexual behavior of the donor.

6. The state was forced to pay a €500.000 compensation for a medical error during plastic surgery which caused a permanent disability to the unfortunate patient. Today, the patient has turned against the anesthesiologist and the surgeons, demanding they repay that amount to the state, as they showed negligence while performing their medical duty.

The above cases display some of the hundreds that land every year on the desks of Greek prosecutors and are associated with medical errors. Even celebrities and people with great influence haven’t escaped from such errors, who often get caught up in a tragic fate, which leaves them “in the wrong hands.”

Physicians, who serve as the crucial connecting point between a person’s life and his death, often won’t recall their Hippocratic Oath and choose to put other priorities over their patients. The debate between the administration and the personnel at the Papageorgiou Hospital over the jammer makes one wonder where these priorities lie.

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