Bloggers mourn death of medical whistleblower

ATHENS, May 29 (Reuters Life!) - Greek bloggers are mourning the loss of one of their own, a young Greek cancer patient whose adventures through the Greek medical system touched thousands, and are dedicating June 1 to her memory.

Amalia Kalyvinou, who died last week at the age of 30, had attracted many to her Internet Weblog with her stories about incompetent and corrupt doctors who failed to diagnose her for years or took financial advantage of her despair.

“Goodbye Amalia. Greeks must think about how they tolerate this disgrace and never speak up,” one anonymous blogger wrote.

Her ordeal appeared to have touched a nerve with many Greeks, long dissatisfied with their public medical care, and daily newspapers published news of Amalia’s death on their front page on Tuesday.

“Guys, I think things have gone well. Blogosphere has created something,” she wrote in her last posting on May 3, which attracted over 800 comments. “There is no magic wand. I just wanted to show some ways of defense and one of them is to make things known.”

Kalyvinou wrote about how doctors failed to diagnose a painful tumor in her leg when she was 8 years old, of her struggles with extreme pain and her fights with Greek bureaucracy to get the care and medicine she needed.

But the philosophy student also showed a strong spirit and a sense of humor, listing among her favorite movies the film “Life is beautiful”.

Even her blog is named after the small envelope with cash -- fakellaki -- that many Greeks feel obliged to give to state hospital doctors for services that should be free.

“Have a good trip Amalia. You taught us humanity, which we had forgotten in our superficial, consumerist lives,” one blogger wrote on.