Greek-Australian Charlie (Sakellaris) Kathopoulis, 43, has returned home to Darwin for treatment following a vicious attack on him by two men on 30 May which left him fighting for is life in the intensive care unit of Rhodes General Hospital (RGN) for 58 days.
It was reported that a number of Greek hospitals had refused to accept him for further treatment.
The island’s online newspaper, Rodiaki, published a letter it had received from a person claiming to be Mr Kathopoulis childhood friend who questioned why the patient had not been allowed to receive treatment from another hospital in Greece but was instead forced to undergo the long journey back to Australia for that treatment.
In the letter the friend wrote: “First of all, I would like to thank all the doctors of the RGN for the titanic efforts they made to save the life of Sakellaris, who happened to be my childhood friend and I know his family who came here. But I would like to dwell on the one phrase: ‘He comes out with full consciousness and excellent mobility.’
“I don’t know if there’s a different medical etymology, and I could be wrong, but ‘excellent mobility’ means being able to walk, run, do anything.”
“So I inform you that during his hospitalization, he had to be transferred to another hospital for the necessary operations. The doctors of Rhodes made every possible effort to transfer to another hospital in Greece without any success. Unfortunately, I do not know the reasons, but his family also cannot understand why they did not accept him.”
The letter writer noted that Mr Kathopoulis family set up a a gofundme page to raise the money for his medical airlift.
The childhood friend concluded in his letter: “So let the doctors of the other hospitals in Greece explain to us why they did not accept him, when medically he could fly.”
Mr Kathopoulis was found seriously injured in the place where he lived on Rhodes, on the evening of May 30.
The friend wrote in Rodiaki that “He had suffered head injuries and wounds to the upper chest and neck, beaten by two Roma who were later arrested by the police authorities and have already been referred in justice.”
Neos Kosmos reported that the Greek-Australian was attacked by the two men on 30 May. The local newspaper Demokratiki of Rhodes reported that the men, a 50-year-old father and his 34-year-old son allegedly attacked Mr Kathopoulis following an argument over “a piece of wire”.
The accused are being held on manslaughter charges. Their victim suffered “major head trauma, skull fractures, an explosive fracture to his jaw, a critically damaged windpipe, a broken collarbone and punctured lungs. The doctors later performed a tracheostomy through a stab wound to his throat.
Mr Kathopoulis was placed in a medically induced coma for 35 days.
The victim’s sister, Michelle Kathopoulis who had travelled to Rhodes with her mother and sister on 2 June, told Neos Kosmos on 11 August that: “It’s just really disheartening that so much time goes by. What they are doing [at Rhodes Hospital] is great. They saved his life. They are caring for him, they are keeping him alive. I can’t fault that level of care. But it’s the bureaucratic, the logistical process of getting him removed and getting him operated that is taking far too long.”
She said at the time that the RGN had saved his life but could not perform additional surgery that Mr Kathopoulis still needed. She said the Rhodes hospital had approached four different hospitals in Greece but had been rejected each time.
“The ICU in the Royal Darwin hospital have already accepted him based on the information that they have seen, and have confirmed in writing that they will receive him,” Ms Kathopoulis says. “Whatever surgery they can’t do, which is the wind pipe surgery, they can certainly organise internally in Australia,” Ms Kathopoulis said.
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