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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Odyssey of the Uninsured and Indigent Patient

Helliniko 20 June 2013
The Odyssey of the Uninsured and Indigent Patient

Every day volunteer community clinics receive urgent appeals from uninsured and indigent patients for care and for medications, since without this support the alternative can lead to death.
Increasingly typical is the adventure of a 52 year old uninsured cancer patient who was diagnosed in the emergency care section of the Metaxa Cancer Hospital with metastatic cancer of the kidney.  Because of the critical condition of the patient she was operated on immediately – fortunately the hospital did not charge her for this.  The patient was instructed to continue her therapy with a medication – SUTENT of 50 mg – a particularly expensive medication which the hospital did not have available.  And for that reason, the patient came in contact with MCCH. 
An small Odyssey started immediately to secure this medication.  The cost was exorbitant for the simple interested citizen who wanted to help.  The cost to hospitals (the lowest cost) for one box is 3,800 euros and the patient needed two boxes – for a total of 7,600 euros.  It was impossible to believe that a young woman would be left completely without help, to die.  We issued a public appeal for this medication which is what we do in such cases.
And here is the marathon result:  twelve pills were found through community services at Metaxa Hospital, ten pills were found at the Volunteer Community Solidarity Clinic of Thessaloniki, a pharmacy from central Athens contributed 30 pills and pharmacists of the World gave us two boxes of 25 mg each, to complete the therapy.  In addition, we were informed that a public hospital (which didn’t want its name made public for obvious reasons) had set aside 40 pills of 25 mg – but finally they were not needed.
In this case, the crisis was met by the constant search of the volunteers from two community clinics and the Community Services department of Metaxa Hospital, and thanks to the social awareness of pharmacists as well as other citizens who rushed to the telephone and promptly communicated with The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko.
We have to admit that we abhor such a shockingly cool reaction to the needs of this patient who was forced t undergo an epic odyssey to find the drug that would extend her life - a life that NO ONE has the right to truncate just because she is uninsured!
We wonder what our Minister of Health, Mr. Andrea Lykourentzos, would do if a relative or friend of his were in a similar situation.  Would he simply let them die, or would he send them to a volunteer clinic to search frantically up and down to find the necessary medication?  Won’t the Ministry of Health stop beating about the bush and finally give us all an unambiguous answer – as clear as a bell.  What will happen to the thousands who stagger about without insurance?  Do we decimate them all?  Does the bell have to toll slowly but unrelentingly for every single one of them?  Won’t someone please answer this vital question? 

Is there no public prosecutor in the whole country to point his finger, cry out “J’accuse” and investigate WHO is at fault that so many people perish?  In this country today, does nothing remain standing?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thrasio Hospital supports MCCH

Helliniko 4 June 2013

                                                              PRESS RELEASE
Thrasio Hospital supports MCCH

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko submitted a request to the Board of Thriasio General Hospital at Elefsina asking them to accept unemployed and uninsured patients for secondary level of hospital care, such as laboratory tests, surgery and  hospital admittance.
The board of Thriasio answered in the affirmative and opened its doors to help.  The slogan of our volunteers is “Nobody stands alone in the crisis”.  Our constant efforts to gain access for uninsured patients to not only primary health care but also, if needed, further hospitalization, is beginning to be heard and get some response. 
A great effort and another triumph for humanity.
We are grateful and thank the Board, the doctors and the staff of Thriasio.
Together we provide a warm embrace of love and solidarity to those thousands drowning in dire poverty and together provide dignity, respect and hope to every citizen of this country
We hope that other hospitals will follow the example set by Thriasio and aid in upholding our society. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Announcement of the MCCH

27 May 2013


The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko does not identify itself with any political positions or political parties.  Its work is the reflection of the beliefs of its more than 200 volunteers who are involved in a daily struggle to prevent the collapse of the public health system and the disintegration of social cohesion.

Right from its conception, during the demonstrations at Syntagma square in the summer of 2011, through its recognition and support by the municipalities of Hellinkon and Argyrouplis, until its continuing function today, it has been guided by the three basic and fixed principles spelt out by the decisions taken during its general assemblies:
  1. MCCH accepts no monetary donations from anyone.  Donations are accepted in the form of goods or services only.
  2.  MCCH refuses to meddle in political or “party” activities and will not allow any faction to use the efforts of the volunteers to project their own political/personal viewpoints or to benefit in any way from the efforts of the volunteers.
  3. MCCH will not advertise the contribution of any donor

Until today, these principles have been respected and accepted by everyone.  Lately, however, they seemed to have been overlooked by certain local publications.  We therefore ask EVERYBODY – without exception – to respect the way we work and not to enmesh us in any political endeavors.  We ask these people to please withdraw certain offensive publications and to respect what we are trying to do here.  Any assistance offered to MCCH cannot be used to advertise or promote any political position (directly or indirectly).

We hope that common sense prevails.

Naomi Klein at MCCH

29 May 2013
Press Release
Naomi Klein at MCCH

On Tuesday, 21 May 2013 Naomi Klein, the well known journalist and author visited Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko.  She was accompanied by her husband, filmmaker and journalist Avi Lewis.  Our guests spoke with volunteers and patients; they were there to learn about how the clinic was structured and functioned.  They also wanted to record and film the results of the austerity measures versus the right of all to have access to public health services.  Mr. Lewis is working on a new documentary on the destruction of the middle class; Ms Klein is gathering material for her new book.  She was visibly moved after speaking to our patients.  She described the clinic as a pillar of resistance in the attempt at levelling human value. 

On leaving she urged volunteers to continue in their efforts to maintain solidarity with those in need with the same enthusiasm and promised to return to MCCH on her next trip to Greece.

We Thank You

The response to our call for assistance for a seven-year old child is really touching.  The child has a complicated condition and was in need of expensive medicine to be given over the coming year.  Within a week of our plea for assistance we have had phone calls, and been sent messages from dozens of people.  And responses came not only from Greece but also from abroad, though our message for help was only in Greek.  We have met the needs for this child for the year.  And so many, who are themselves facing very serious economic problems, still want to give even 10 to 20 euros!  For us the offer of a few euros is of the same - if not more - value towards the coverage of € 735 per box that this product costs.

Thank You!  There are no words to describe how wonderful you make us feel with your heart felt response!