I went to a meeting with the NGOs providing healthcare in the camp. Medicine Sans Frontiers, International Refugee Committee, Rowing Together, Doc Mobile and Boat Refugee Foundations. All are frustrated by the broken system. The Greek Government Clinic is STILL closed and that is where we send referrals for X-rays, blood tests, and appointments for specialists (these are really limited on the Island).
We all have patients NEEDING these services. We can keep telling them to come back in a few days , and then a few days more and still we can’t do anything. We can send emergencies to the hospital but it is difficult because it is a small hospital not designed nor prepared for the massive influx of refugees. I have read the UNHCR Health mandates and the expected Standards of Care and believe me that is NOT happening – not even close. The NGOS are filling in the gaps and there is just not enough of anything. There are many players running the camp and we have not figured out the puzzle. The EU has given money to the Greek Government. The UNHCR is grossly underfunded and refugees keep coming. Georgia is going to try and get away for an hour and visit the UNHCR office this morning.
Today, Hands On Global bought 30 tents vaccines, they were expensive but now we have them.
The afternoon was more than the usual chaos. A very angry, threatening patient shut the clinic down mid-afternoon. He just flipped out and was threatening, shouting and pulled down his pants, exposing himself. The police came and took him away. He had been waiting hours to be seen and felt like someone jumped ahead of his place on line. Frustration and unanswered needs set people off. All those who had waited since 8 in the morning had to leave and Hadi shut it down except for emergencies. There were 5 emergencies, one right after the other! A young woman who had been assaulted in the bathroom, a woman with a high fever, a 14 year old kid who collapsed, a man who collapsed,- all accompanied by hysterical family members.
A man came in today who had made a serious suicide attempt 10 days ago, a very deep wrist slit. He was taken to the hospital and stitched up, he came to our clinic because the wound had opened days ago. It needed some deep debreidment and the tendons were exposed, luckily not severed. He had been denied asylum and felt his life was over. He has been hiding in the camp and was fearful of seeking care. We are fearful he is still suicidal and we can do nothing!
We finally left the clinic and had the privilege of leaving, of walking out of the camp and returning to our “life” in Mytilini. We went to the spa and soaked in the outdoor pool with a glass of wine overlooking the beautiful bay.
How is it that our lives are so different from theirs? We are all humans.