Aussie off-road racer Andrew Houlihan is struggling with language barriers and having to endure very poor conditions in a Greek hospital as he recovers from the injuries he received in a crash on the final stage of the 2018 Hellas Rally.
Initial reports said Andrew was 1km into the special stage when he took a wrong turn, and while making his way back he collided with another bike coming the other way. But Andrew has just been told by a race official that he was in fact heading in the correct direction on the tight track, and it was the other rider who was going the wrong way! The two riders collided head on on a blind corner.
Andrew’s injuries include a punctured lung, broken sternum, broken collarbone, badly broken scapula, broken hand, broken nose and a badly damaged eye socket. He has broken all the ribs on his right side.
He has a drain in his chest which Andrew says was put in with no anaesthetic – “He (doctor) said he did not have time to anaesthetise me and I was held by several nurses whilst he cut a hole in my chest, just below my armpit and then forced a drainage tube in”.
Andrew requires surgery on his scapula but the condition of his lung must improve before that can occur.
Read Andrew’s story here:
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Injuries like this are hard enough to cope with, but Andrew and his wife Katie have been dealing with a serious language barrier and the conditions in the hospital he is now in have been very poor.
Andrew was initially transported to a small hospital in Pyrgos for assessment, x-rays and to have the drain inserted into his chest. He was then transported to Patras University Hospital.
He describes the conditions as atrocious:
“This hospital is not good but I am told it is one of the best in Greece.”
“Hygiene is minimal as are the beds and mattresses. It is very old and run down with many student staff of which none speak English.”
“One bonus is there have been no fights here yet. At the last hospital there was a group of us pushed into a room as a brawl broke out in the waiting area, this was comforting as I was laying on a bed with major injuries.”
“I am in a room with two other elderly Greek men, one who thinks he is in the mafia and the other is just laying there staring at me.”
The couple are now getting support from their insurance company and have also sought help from the Australian Embassy, in the hope that things can be improved for Andrew or that he can be moved to another country where conditions could be better.
In the meantime the insurance company has managed to organise some assistance for him.
“I will now have a personal carer / nurse to assist me in the hospital and we have also noticed our meal quality is way above the other patients.”
“I think I will be here for a while still but things are looking a little better.”
Andrew has also been describing some of the bizarre events that are happening in the hospital:
“About 2 hours ago a crazy Greek guy rushed in and tried taking blood from my broken hand, he was covered in sweat and very angry and the he damaged the vein and started losing his shit at me, he had another go, got some blood and left. I now think he may be a mental patient as he wasn’t dressed that well and was extremely incoherent.”
And this …
“Our hospital room is now completely full with patients and there families. In total there are now 14 people in a room designed for 6 patients. All of the other patients are elderly, except one 15 year old boy that arrived late this afternoon in a bad way. Katie was talking to the mother and the young boy was shot today in the stomach by the Albanian mafia (this is not a joke).”