Be Still My Beating Heart

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 05 February 2015
Be Still My Beating Heart

Literally! Summer brings visitors, and last week was a case in point: 2 visitors, South American, traveling around Europe, with 'I love Athens' goggles firmly implanted. Until Saturday late afternoon, after a full day of hiking around town in the heat, we found ourselves at the top of Lycabetus, on what must have been our 5th coffee of the day.

One of our group started to have heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing. This lead very quickly to him being flat on his back on the ground, breathing rapidly, heart racing, arm numbness, panicked.

He was travelling with full traveller's health insurance, so we called his provider and were told to go directly to the Henry Dunant Hospital. Twenty minutes later, we were there.

Fortunately, my friend was perfectly fine: not enough food, dehydrated, sunstroke and an overdose of caffeine. His heart was over-taxed, but eventually settled.

But the treatment we received at the emergency section of the hospital was great.

My friend was seen by a nurse, a cardiologist and a neurologist, each of whom did a thorough exam and diagnosis, in English. We were there for an hour in total.

The whole experience was efficient, professional, competent. Which is, I suppose, what an emergency room visit should be. OK, it's a private hospital, but the whole process was flawless: speed of admission, 'trust' & bedside manner, English language service, medical explanation and prescription, discharge process. I have been in only a handful of hospitals in my life, but I could find no fault in this visit.

Lesson 1: Eat properly, don't spend all day in the sun, and take it easy on the caffeine.

Lesson 2: Sometimes things aren't as bad as they could be.

I know that many of us have had bad experiences with the Greek healthcare system; I have heard endless horror stories and reasons to complain - from both the public and the private hospital system. Last weekend, I had the opposite experience - and it's important to share that too.

Until next week,


Hospital "Henry Dunant" (Νοσοκομείο "ΕΡΡΙΚΟΣ ΝΤΥΝΑΝ")
107 Mesogion Ave.
Tel: +30 210 6972000

In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…