Monday, February 20, 2012

How to successfully plan a medical emergency in Greece

Last Saturday I must have made a very unfortunate food combination because in the evening my stomach started hurting. We didn't have any medication in the house so, as much as I didn't feel like it, we had to go out and look for a pharmacy. And thus the quest begins...
In Greece, pharmacies have the same schedule as stores, some days they are only opened in the morning, some other days they are open in the morning, close at midday and the reopen in the evening for a few more hours. After 9 PM and on Sundays you have the overnight pharmacies. 

The overnight pharmacies are never the same ones. There needs to be a certain number of opened pharmacies on every area but they rotate. Some pharmacies have the mercy of showing you a map with the location of the nearest opened pharmacy, not many though.

So you really need to chose carefully when you're going to get sick and plan it ahead. It would be wiser to Google the locations of currently opened pharmacies before going out and start to looking for what you need.

By the way, English key words don't work on this search. I tried it. You need to look for εφημερεύοντα φαρμακεία followed by the name of the city. The obvious result of that search is, of course, links in Greek that contain the necessary information but they are slightly in a different language. Translate page might work though. 

God forbid you ever need to visit the emergency room. First thing you need to know is that in Greece not all hospitals have an ER. Further more, as in pharmacies' case, hospitals take turns in covering the ER service. And for as strange as that might sound, emergencies are categorized by conditions. So, if you have a heart condition emergency and you are close to a hospital that, by fortune, has an ER but it is only for orthopedic emergencies, you cannot go.

So, think ahead and plan your medical emergency thoroughly :D Search online for εφημερεύοντα νοσοκομεία followed by the name of the city you are in. That will give you the list of the currently opened hospitals. Translate the page then start looking for the hospital that has the medical specialty that you require and only than you can start feeling sick. Good luck!

Lately though, even the ones that are supposed to be opened aren't. The crises hit bad all the sectors in Greece and hospitals are no different so , every now and then, the doctors strike also. This is another step you should add the your medical emergency planning. Before searching for opened hospitals, take a news paper and see what strikes are in town. If the doctors are on strike it will be wiser to postpone your heart attack, broken leg etc.

In other words: "Welcome to Greece, have a pleasant stay and pray to God you don't have a medical emergency!"

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