Friday, 23 September 2022

Epilepsy Patients Wait 18 Months, Crucial Diagnostic Machine Remains Broken

September 23, 2022 - It is no secret that public health in Croatia can be painfully slow and inefficient. And while most people experience that inefficiency in waiting times for routine check-ups, the number of people whose lives depend on it is heart-breaking. It ranges from bloodwork crucial for cancer diagnoses and life-saving medicine to potentially life-changing tests that could be done using an old machine. Nothing fancy, no super-advanced technology, just a machine that has been there for ages. Then it broke down. One year ago. Epilepsy patients are left waiting for a potentially life-changing diagnosis.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders with a wide range of symptoms. It causes seizures of varying intensity, duration and frequency. While some people can carry on with their daily lives with minor interruptions, for some, it is debilitating. The cortical stimulator machine is used for detecting which parts of the brain are causing epileptic seizures and to see if it is possible to operate on those parts and potentially set the patients free of this life-altering condition. Unfortunately, if sensitive parts of the brain are affected, where surgery could interfere with vital functions, it might not be the solution, but often enough, it could prove helpful. At the very least, the test might set the patients on the right course for treatment or management of the condition. KBC Zagreb had one, and then it broke down in September 2021. 

As RTL reported in April 2022, when the old machine broke down, the hospital showed a willingness to get a new one but somehow "got stuck". In the meantime, the patients have been on hold; their epileptic seizures keep coming one after the other, and the medical staff can't even give an approximate date on the phone when they can expect an appointment. Until the device is fixed, there will be no diagnoses.

Back then, it was also stated that there were 19 patients on the waiting list for diagnostics using the device, and these patients, according to prim. Dr Novak, in the meantime, also reported for outpatient neurological check-ups at the Centre for Epilepsy.

About 40 thousand people have epilepsy in Croatia. The disease can be controlled in most cases. Still, for about 25 per cent of patients, medicine is not enough, and doctors sometimes decide to remove the parts responsible for epileptic seizures surgically.

One of such patients took to Reddit to plead for the help of the media in sharing his story, desperate that one year later, nothing has changed and that the waiting list of 19 people has not moved. Having waited for over 18 months, he suspects the list might even be longer by now. He experiences partial epileptic seizures daily, medicine alone does not help, and the only hope is the option of surgery, which can only be determined by tests on the machine in question. 

And here is where the absurdity lies. Apparently, "KBC Zagreb themselves stated that the funds are available, the father of a patient offered to collect money through donations, and one even allegedly offered to buy a new machine and donate it to KBC, to which he was told that it could not be done that way". The patients are left wondering and guessing why the delay is happening. Was it Covid setting it all back, maybe private interest that is not being met, something else? Who knows. 

The very least we can do is talk about it, share the desperate calls for help, ask those in charge to acknowledge the problem, and maybe even start working on it. Wouldn't that be a wonder?

If you are one of the patients, their family or friends and would like to share your story; or are in a position to help, advise or direct the patients who still need help, please contact us.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.


Thursday, 12 May 2022

KBC Zagreb Says Has Informed Čavajda Of Available Pregnancy Termination Procedure

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - The KBC Zagreb hospital said on Thursday that it informed Mirela Čavajda, a 39-year-old woman whose pregnancy termination request was approved on Wednesday, about the pregnancy termination procedure available at the city's Women's Diseases and Maternity Hospital, but that she refused it.

"Doctors - a gynaecologist and a pediatrician specialising in neonatology - have provided Mrs Čavajda with information regarding the method of pregnancy termination that is available at the Women's Diseases and Maternity Hospital (induction of premature labour), which she refused," KBC Zagreb said in response to a query from Hina.

A second-instance commission at KBC Zagreb on Wednesday approved pregnancy termination for Čavajda based on medical indications and her attorney Vanja Jurić said that Mirela and her family had decided to go to a hospital in Ljubljana to have the procedure.

Jurić stressed that the Zagreb hospital could not provide Čavajda with care pursuant to the decision of the second-instance commission and provisions of the law on abortion.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Zagreb Rebro Hospital to Undergo 70 Million Euro Renovation

March the 27th, 2022 - The well known Zagreb Rebro hospital is finally set to ''go under the knife'' itself in the form of a 70 million euro renovation which will see the addition of a brand new multifunctional building.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, at the tail end of last week, the (newly crowned) Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property, Ivan Paladina, and the director of the Zagreb Clinical Hospital (Rebro) Ante Corusic signed an agreement on a project for the renovation and reconstruction of the Zagreb Rebro hospital called "Phase III", which is worth the aforementioned figure of 70 million euros.

The new multifunctional building of the Zagreb Rebro hospital will be constructed within the existing location, and all of the funds intended for the construction and renovation have been secured from a World Bank loan. The new part of the hospital will span a massive 27,800 square metres in total and will have eight floors, as well as a garage with five floors and an emergency heliport will be built and opened.

Minister Ivan Paladina pointed out that this project is an example of quality and concrete cooperation between the Zagreb Rebro hospital, the competent ministries and the profession.

“When we have a clear common goal and when everyone involved in the project gives their maximum contribution, then things work properly. This is a positive example that we want to apply to all other reconstruction procedures that we need to tackle after the earthquake, in which the state and the profession will participate even more actively, as will the public,'' said Paladina.

Hospital director Ante Corusic also noted that Phase III is part of the strategic document for the development of the Zagreb Rebro hospital, which is about ten years old now, and the project was additionally prolonged by the devastating earthquake of March 2020. That said, now that handsome World Bank loans totalling 81.8 million US dollars have been obtained, and additional funds through the NPOO totalling 25 million euros have also been secured, things can finally get moving in the right direction.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

DM Donates €79,200 Worth of Disinfectants to KBC Zagreb Hospital

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2022 - The dm retailer, which offers cosmetics, healthcare items, household products, and health food, has donated 10,000 liters of the Aresept disinfectant worth HRK 594,000 to the KBC Zagreb hospital to help reduce the exposure of medical workers and patients to hospital infections and viruses.

Hospital director Ante Ćorušić said the use of disinfectants in institutions like the KBC Zagreb, which has more than 6,000 employees and where annually more than 1.5 million procedures are provided, has been intensified to reduce as much as possible the risk of infection, notably in the current coronavirus pandemic.

The KBC Zagreb consists of 30 departments and clinical institutes and has the status of the central national hospital.

Ćorušić thanked dm for its donation, and regional dm manager Dijana Petanjek said that by donating the disinfectant, dm wanted to show its gratitude to medical workers for working in difficult conditions and to contribute to the protection of their and their patients' health.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

6 Rebro Hospital Employees Receive Dismissals Following Covid Test Refusal

November the 23rd, 2021 - Six Rebro Hospital (KBC Zagreb) hospital employees have been dismissed after refusing to regularly test for the presence of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

To briefly bring you up to speed in case you haven't been following, several weeks ago a decision made by the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate was made that stated that all employees in the health and social care sector must have valid covid certificates, proving their vaccination status, that they've recovered from the virus in a specific time period, or that they have recently tested negative. The move was also intended for everyone who wanted to enter a health and/or social care facility unless it was a medical emergency.

Those who refuse to show their covid certificates and those who are not vaccinated and/or recovered who refuse to be tested regularly were warned when the rule came into force that they would likely be warned and then dismissed. That has occurred now on multiple occasions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, six Rebro Hospital employees received extraordinary termination of their employment contracts because they persistently refused to show a valid digital covid certificate upon arrival at work and didn't want to be tested.

As RTL has learned, the documentation on the termination of the employment contract was sent to six employees of Zagreb's Rebro Hospital, and the information was confirmed by the deputy director of the hospital, Dr. Milivoj Novak.

The director of Rebro Hospital, Dr. Ante Corusic, previously emphasised that the institution has 6,156 employees, 12 of whom refused to be tested and didn't have a covid certificate to present when going to work. Two of them later changed their minds on the matter and started accepting regular coronavirus testing, one employee was fired, and the others, the director said at the time, would be fired in accordance with the law and the decisions of the Workers' Council.

However, the Healthcare Workers' Union claims that the Workers' Council did not comment on the dismissals of these six Rebro Hospital employees because none of them even asked for them to step in or make a comment.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Monday, 8 November 2021

Zagreb Hospitals Increasing Capacities for COVID, Reducing Elective Surgeries

ZAGREB, 8 Nov, 2021 - As COVID hospitalisation numbers are increasing, Zagreb hospitals are expanding their COVID capacities while reducing services that are not essential.

The director of the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Zagreb, Davor Vagić, told Hina that the hospital is expanding its COVID ward by an extra 12 beds plus eight more intensive care units.

There are currently 60 COVID patients at the hospital and together with the emergency ward, there will be about 100 beds available for patients.

He added that non-essential treatment would be reduced by 25%.

Vagić said that about 550 employees at the hospital had received a third dose of vaccine and immunisation would continue at the the same pace.

The KBC Hospital in Zagreb will also increase its COVID capacities from 113 to 129 and currently there are 108 COVID patients at that university hospital, 17 of whom are on ventilators, the hospital's assistant director Milivoj Novak said.

The Dubrava hospital currently has 135 hospitalised COVID patients and 21 are in ICU and they are all on ventilators.

A Health Ministry task force has recommended that all hospitals expand their COVID capacities.

The Zagreb-based Sveti Duh hospital is currently caring for about 30 COVID patients.

The hospital's head, Mladen Bušić, told Hina that elective surgeries had been reduced to some extent due to acute treatment of COVID-19.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Sunday, 7 November 2021

6 KBC Zagreb Employees Fired After Refusing Vaccine or Testing

November the 7th, 2021 - Six KBC Zagreb (Rebro) employees have been fired after refusing to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, as well as for refusing to be regularly tested for the virus' presence.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is once again biting hard here in Europe as the season changes and people begin spending more and more time indoors as a result of the colder weather. Infections here in Croatia have climbed to numbers never seen before during the entire pandemic and new measures are now in force to try to combat the rapidly escalating situation.

Hospitals are fearing the same situation we experienced last year and some are already having to make enormous alterations to the way things function to try to deal with the current wave of infections, which are alarmingly high. The vaccination rate in Croatia is still very poor, and a lack of respirators for those with a more severe clinical picture is once again a huge concern. 

Most medical staff across Croatia have been fully vaccinated, some have recently accepted their third dose, all with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable and unwell people in society they are typically dealing with. That isn't the case for all, however, and given the fact that vaccination against coronavirus isn't mandatory, some have refused. Those who refuse must then agree to be very regularly tested for the presence of the virus, but some have even refused that. As a result, they've lost their jobs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, three nurses, a medical technician, an assistant and an administrator were fired from their employment positions at KBC Zagreb because they did not want to be vaccinated or tested, as was announced on Friday.

“The reason for the dismissal of these individuals is their refusal to be vaccinated or, alternatively, be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. They, after being told they could not come to work without a COVID certificate, used their rights to leave, and partly went on sick leave. However, when they exhausted all of their legal 'leave' possibilities, and still didn't want to be vaccinated or tested, they were handed an extraordinary dismissal,'' said prof.dr. Ante Corusic, the director of KBC Zagreb, in conversation with Jutarnji list.

Corusic also confirmed that the process of terminating the employment contract for four more employees is underway for the exact same reason.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

HKMS Wants Health Workers to Be Granted Status of Officials

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021- The Croatian Chamber of Nurses (HKMS) on Thursday asked the Ministry of the Interior to deploy police patrols around medical institutions more often and the Ministry of Justice to amend the criminal code and grant health workers the status of officials.

That would increase security for health workers and provide them with a safe working environment, the HKMS said in a statement prompted by a recent assault on patients in the accident and emergency area of the KBC Zagreb hospital.

"The incident at KBC Zagreb is not an isolated case of attack on nurses in the course of their duties. Cases of psychological harassment, shouting, and threats directed at health workers by patients, their families, and other people have become part of everyday life for many health workers," HKMS president Mario Gazić said.

He warned that violence against nurses and other health workers was an increasing problem that might escalate to the point of becoming a threat to their lives.

Citing the results of an HKMS survey conducted in 2018, Gazić said that 95 percent of nurses considered the present physical protection and security in medical institutions to be inadequate and that 73 percent of institutions reported attacks on nurses.

The survey revealed that 89 percent of nurses had experienced verbal or physical violence in the course of their duties, half of the institutions did not have a 24-hour security service and nine percent had such a service only during the night.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

KBC Hospital in Zagreb to Get HRK 2.8M From EU Funds for Its Three Projects

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The University Hospital Centre (KBC) Zagreb has concluded EU grant agreements with a total value of HRK 2.8 million to prepare project documentation for three projects that were presented on Monday.

The projects refer to the Centre for Genome Research in Oncology and Perinatology, Centre for Research and Early Detection of Lung Cancer, and the National Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Patients.

The projects will assist in developing documentation to successfully apply and implement the projects and they are being financed from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The actual projects are aimed at improving access to health care and treatment and monitoring the outcome of that treatment. The project documentation should be completed in the next three to four months and after that KBC will apply for funding to implement them, KBC Zagreb director Ante Ćorušić said.

The lung cancer project documentation, valued at HRK 1.5 million, documents necessary for construction works and equipment.

The multiple sclerosis project is valued at HRK 813,000 and the genome research project is valued at HRK 503,000.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Jesuits Say Didn't Authorise Priest to Attend Protest Outside Hospital

ZAGREB, 4 Oct 2021 - The Croatian province of the Society of Jesus said on Monday it did not authorize father Zdravko Knežević to participate in this morning's protest outside a Zagreb hospital against mandatory COVID certificates for health workers.

Knežević was among some 50 protesters who booed Health Minister Vili Beroš upon his arrival there to mark the start of the certificate mandate in the health sector. The media reported that Knežević shouted "treason, the gallows, you are Judases" to Beroš.

In a press release, the Croatian province of the Society of Jesus distanced itself from Knežević's participation in the protest, even though he said he was there as a private person.

The province also distanced itself from his statements at the protest, saying that some of them, as carried by the media, were totally inappropriate. "Because of that, I apologize to everyone who was hurt by them," father Dalibor Renić said in the press release.

"I believe health workers and their leadership deserve our trust and support in their attempts to give citizens the best healthcare in this pandemic crisis," he added.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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