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33-year old Bulgarian from Kalamata fighting for her life

29 April 2010 / 15:04:11  GRReporter
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Every one of us can become ill while abroad and might need urgent medical intervention. The case of 33-year-old Bulgarian Valentina Stoichkova, who had to have a liver transplant, is indicative of the vicissitudes of fate. Teams of doctors at the local hospitals in Kalamata, and later in Thessaloniki assisted her, but as it appeared the surgery cost €100,000. 

It turns out that the young woman did not have health insurance either in Bulgaria or in Greece and according to doctors if she did it would cover the entire cost of her transplantation. Assistance will be provided for her but the procedure takes some time at a moment when every hour that passes is of grave importance to her life 

Currently 33-year-old Valentina is in a critical condition and fighting for her life after going through hepatitis crisis, which led to the collapse of her liver. The young woman was working in a restaurant in Kalamata in southern Greece, where she had the hepatitis crisis and she was immediately hospitalized at a local hospital. There, doctors diagnosed that the only way for the young woman to survive is a liver transplantation. 

Valentina was immediately transported in a specialized hospital in Thessaloniki, where doctors found out that in Essen, Germany there is a suitable donor. But it appears that there is a problem, because the Bulgarian does not have health insurance and the transplant costs €100,000, reports 24 hours newspaper. 

The case of the 33-year-old Valentina was taken by the Bulgarian consulate in Thessaloniki, and Dr. Theodora Dzhaleva from the Bulgarian Transplant Agency says that she can convene an emergency meeting of the public council, which grants money abroad, but firstly she must obtain the of the  Bulgarian woman from Thessaloniki hospital. Ambulance from Sofia hospital Lozenets has left for Thessaloniki, to take the patient, says for 24 Hours Lachezar Ivanov - Bulgarian Consul in Thessaloniki, according to whom a donor has been found in Bulgaroa. 

There is a cooperation agreement on health care between Bulgaria and Greece and it is valued very correctly" answer to our inquiry Bulgarian Labor Attaché Ekaterina Dimitrova. "Both countries are obliged to mutually provide free medical assistance to citizens, temporarily residing in their territories, when during this period they have become acutely ill (including severe dental disease) or injury requiring emergency medical care. Free medical care is provided until the possible return of the patient in their home country without danger to their life or worsening of their condition. The transportation of sick persons and the costs associated with their transport shall be borne by the state whose citizens they are" says the agreement. 

Many Bulgarians who live in Greece and Cyprus pay for health insurance not only in the country where they live and work, but in Bulgaria as well, so they can be sure they will have eligible medical services in both countries, says the attaché on labor issues in Athens Ekaterina Dimitrova. But there are many people who fall into the other extreme and do not insure themselves in any country, which is irresponsible, adds Ms Dimitrova. 

Bulgarians living abroad can insure themselves in the National Health Insurance Fund, which will cost around €100 per year. It is very likely that in the near future we will have to show our identity card along with our insurance card, when leaving Bulgaria. 

Bulgarians living in Greece without having insurance in the Greek Health Fund are entitled to health care only in emergencies, as mentioned above. 

In case you need to use the services of a dentist or hospital treatment - surgery, childbirth, etc., without the necessary insurance in your country or without a European health insurance card, you have to bear the cost by yourself. European health insurance card is required for Bulgarians traveling abroad, but it is issued for a specified period of time, and in order for it to be issued one must be insured and have continuous health rights in Bulgaria.

Tags: Bulgarians in Greece liver failure hospitals health insurance
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