Friday, June 01, 2007

Για την Αμαλία

A young woman died last Friday. She was young – only 30 – she was a philosophy student, and she had cancer. Amalia Kalyvinou was well known as a Greek blogger. Her blog, Malpractice, chronicled the trials and tribulations of her experiences with the Greek health care system. I did not know her personally, nor could I read much of her blog due to my rudimentary Greek, and as all things on the internet go, I cannot say for certain whether her character is real or fiction. But I do know that her blog appears to be a genuine account of human suffering, and some of the problems she has encountered in the Greek health care system are very, very real. (Go here for Amalia's story in English)

Today the Greek blogosphere has chosen to honor her memory, to mourn her death and hope for the future of chronically ill patients in Greece. It seems that in light of the massive popularity of the blog, the head of the Athens Medical Association is actually intending to investigate some of Amalia’s claims. Whether or not this will lead to any real change in the system is uncertain. All I know is that her voice has been heard by thousands around Greece, and that is something.

To her family and friends, λυπάμαι πολύ. I grieve with you today the loss of a woman whose voice cried out to a whole country, and was heard.


bryan-in-greece said...

I have been reading her blog and it is very moving reading indeed, highlighting as it does both the good doctors who worked hard to help her (who were in a minority) and those in the majority who were simply out to make money out of her plight (such as the one whose advice to her when she told him how much pain she was in during a visit costing 30,000 drs (EUR88) was "Have you taken a Depon?" !!!!!) and how IKA and EOF bureaucracy all along was against her and those doctors who tried to help her. I have been through the Greek health system myself (thankfully not for anything quite so serious as cancer, but it was a nightmare experience all the same) and have seen a family relative suffering from paralysis from the waist down go through the farce of "treatment" offered by the hospitals and have to pay out to "doctors" and "professors" who demanded back-handers to do their job. It is an utter nightmare and needs so much reform that it is hard to know where anyone should start. Let's hope Amalia's blog does something to bring about change. May she rest in peace now.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow, that is terrible. I am so sorry that things like this happen to people, whether they be in Greece or the US, because these things happen everywhere when people are motivated by greed.

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