In an interview given to Anna Metzogianaki-Tzortzi, the head of the Intensive Care Unit in the General Hospital in Agios Nikolaos, Dr. Masoud Hani appealed to the youth of Greece and asked them to consider becoming organ donors. A Palestinian living in Greece, Dr.Masoud shows his personal sensitivity to this particular part of his work, in the field of Intensive Care.
Mr. Masoud, many say that the Public Health Service in Greece is in Intensive Care, as a doctor in this field, would you agree with that?
The problem in Public Health is very big. In my opinion, that is not only due to Governments, but also to the Medical Community itself. Especially in areas other than the big cities, the system does not work well. One example is the programme of the doctors: Each doctor comes and goes when he wants to. In our hospital, we argue amongst ourselves as too who is responsible for overseeing this issue. There are many complaints by patients.
When I took on the position of temporary Administrator, I found myself facing many serious problems of a financial nature. Water and heating fuel bills are one example. I was expected to sign orders for payment for 4,500 euros per month for water and 1,400-1,600 heating fuel everyday! And I will say again, that in Greece, nothing will move forward because of the duplicity, but parallel to that, is complete lack of interest even in this, such sensitive field of health.
In your opinion, who should take the position of Hospital Administrator, a doctor or someone with knowledge of management?
The best would be someone with knowledge and specialised experience in management, but they must also have a high position in hospital care. That should be the manager of Medical Services, who is chosen by the doctors of the hospital.
Is the current medical and nursing staff sufficient for our hospital to work efficiently?
At one point, we were called the “hospital of shame” and I’m sorry for that because that was how we lost the trust of our patients. This is despite the fact that we carry the load of patient care for the whole of the Prefecture, as the other two General hospitals were seriously under operating.
Our biggest problem is the lack of nursing staff. I will speak as head of the I.C.U. We have the technology and drugs that we need, but not the staff.
Are there problems with the hospital buildings and facilities?
One issue is the beds in our clinics. It should be possible to move them and to pass through the doors. In our hospital, that is not possible, which shows how we are in need of updating facilities within the hospital.
– You took part, along with colleagues, in educational seminars given by the Onassis Hospital in Athens on the subject of transplants. In the I.C.U. here in Agios Nikolaos, is it possible to retrieve organs for transplant, in order to give the gift of life to others?
I took my colleagues with me as until then, only I had the knowledge in this very important area of I.C.U medical care. Organ donation is a voluntary action that gives life to others. Greece, although the country with the most traffic accidents, has the lowest number of organ donations. I appeal to young people to become organ donors and to create a bridge between life and death.
– You are a Palestinian doctor in Agios Nikolaos. Israel-Palestine is an ongoing disagreement between two nations, for one piece of the Earth. The constant flare-ups, loss of civilian life and bloodshed are a sad reality. Do you believe that there is hope for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
At some point in History, with a decision made by Europe, the door to Palestine was knocked on by another People, to live on it’s land. And without the opinion of the Palestinian people, they entered and began settling in the houses of others. We cannot approach the house of my grandfather in Nazareth, because they took it – just like that! You walk in the streets and suddenly you see bullets flying in the air, like olives from the trees. To travel 60 kilometres, it takes 8 hours. My Nation and it’s people are suffering and I wish I could do something about that. I visit, because it’s my birthplace but, my soul hurts to see the suffering. I hope that at some time, there will be peace. What I would like to emphasise is that despite being at war for a hundred years, the economy is on the up and with trade development, in comparison to Greece which cannot get back on it’s feet, economically.
– In the field that you work, you regularly come into contact with death. Do you believe in miracles? Have you seen them happen? Have you ever said to relatives of a patient, “now we are waiting for a miracle”?
A doctor shouldn’t believe in miracles. He must fight until the very last moment to save his patient. However, people get strength from their belief and I am one of the few Heads of I.C.U. where I sought to place an icon of the Virgin Mary, in the entrance to the department.
– You belong to the Youth Movement of the Red Cross. Do you believe that volunteers should fill in the gaps that the State fails to fill?
Voluntary Organisations must exist. If our fellow man is in danger, we must be there to help. As a student I was a member of the Red Cross in Germany under the guidance of the Roman Catholic Church and I travelled to Africa several times. Here, we started growing the movement slowly in 2003, with the support of the then Mayor, Mr. Hatzidakis and the late Metropolitan, Nektarios. Today, I am very happy that three teams operate, with multiple members and who take part in a rich variety of activities.
– What would you wish for in the New Year?
Peace in the World, but especially for my People, in order to make progress and see smiles on the faces of the young children. That they could play with their toys and not have to listen to the songs and witness the bloody games of adults, under the sound of guns.