Kaczyński’s Accusations

July 22, 2014
Pointing the Finger

Pointing the Finger

During one of his recent speeches, Jarosław Kaczyński of Law and Justice (PiS) criticised the Polish economy, healthcare and education systems. According to the PiS head, none of these areas are in a satisfactory condition. Rising unemployment has resulted in mass emigration to highly developed countries where career opportunities are significantly more varied and attainable. Kaczyński also mentioned that Polish healthcare cannot be trusted. Nowadays, it seems that it is more profitable to let seriously ill patients die than help them. He continued saying that the procedures of making appointments are so complicated and time-consuming that many patients have to wait months to visit a specialist. In addition, social assistance is not available to all those who need it. There are thousands of families that do not receive any support from the government and as a result, there is a large number of undernourished children in Poland. In his speech, opposition leader Kaczyński did not forget about the Polish education system and said that educational programmes in Poland need to be entirely reorganised. He said that the issue of textbooks should also be resolved – constantly changing textbooks do not improve the quality of education but only worsen the financial situation of many families. PM Donald Tusk replied to these comments. He claimed that many young people have managed to find well-paid jobs over the last months in Poland, while the level of emigration is now much lower than in 2008. When it comes to the problem of healthcare in Poland, he said that the government is currently working on a new bill that aims at improving all complicated procedures that prevent patients from obtaining the necessary care. Last but not least, he touched upon the issue of social assistance. He explained that the amount of income per family has been raised so as to enable more citizens to receive financial benefits. According to The Economist, Tusk is the one who is correct. As the magazine reports, Poland is treated by most European countries with great respect due to the progress it has made during the global economic crisis.
wyborcza.pl

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Mother Refuses to Accept Son’s Death

July 18, 2014
Heartbreaking

Heartbreaking

According to doctors, 17-year-old Kamil died on Friday, after suffering serious injuries in a car accident. His father has agreed that the teenager’s organs should be donated for transplantation. Kamil’s mother, however, refuses to accept that he has passed away and demands that the death certificate is annulled, so that she can move her son to another medical facility for treatment. For the last few days, a group of people who knew Kamil has been demonstrating in front of the hospital in which the 17-year-old died. The protesters do not believe that their friend is brain-dead and say that his doctors are too eager to go ahead with the transplants. According to friends of Kamil, he is about to be “murdered for his organs”, which is why they “came to make sure that the doctors knew that someone was watching”. Kamil’s father says that even though he understands his ex-wife’s position, he believes the doctors when they tell him that nothing can be done for his child. He adds, “If the doctors could transplant Kamil’s organs, they would be able to save other people’s lives, and, in that way, Kamil would live on, his heart beating in another person”. The doctors have assured the mother that no steps would be taken without both parents’ consent.
tvn24.pl

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Lightning Hits Boy

July 15, 2014
Bolt of Lightning

Bolt of Lightning

The incident took place in the seaside town of Grzybów, near Kołobrzeg. A 19-year-old boy was hit by lightning while he was on the beach putting up a tent. As noted by tvn24.pl the tempest that hit Grzybów was a ‘dry storm’ without any rain. What is remarkable about the incident was the fact that the boy survived and is still alive thanks to being given immediate medical assistant by WOPR life rescuers. They began resuscitating the boy until an specialist emergency medical team from Grzybów took over. Later, the teenager was transported to a hospital in Gryfice. “Air Rescue took the 19-year-old to a hospital in Gryfice. He is now conscious,” said Elżbieta Sochanowska from the ambulance service in Szczecin. We have two more people in hospital who where standing close to where the lightning hit. Sochanowska said that the two people, a middle-aged man and woman, are under observation because lightning strikes can sometimes later cause heart arrhythmia.
se.pl

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Hospital Head Fired

July 13, 2014
Bogdan Chazan Sacked

Bogdan Chazan Sacked

“If one’s conscience does not allow one to tend to a patient’s needs in accordance with the law, then one should choose another profession,” said former Health Minister Ewa Kopacz, commenting on the recent decision to dismiss Warsaw hospital head Bogdan Chazan for refusing to help a pregnant woman get an abortion because of his religious convictions. Kopacz added, “I am a doctor and a religious person, but my rights as a doctor cannot negate the rights of my patients”. Kopacz stressed the fact that a medical practitioners’ job is to serve their patients. Although she admits that she understands why some doctors would not want to perform abortions, she argues that a situation in which one’s religious convictions are held above a patient’s rights cannot be tolerated. Kopacz, the current Speaker of the Polish Lower House, the Sejm, would also prefer the media to concentrate on the suffering of the woman, whose rights were infringed upon by Dr Chazan, instead of holding endless discussions about Chazan’s ‘conscience’. The woman who was denied an abortion, which she was legally entitled to, was forced to give birth to a baby, despite the fact that the foetus had serious birth defects. The baby died on Wednesday, after only ten days.
tvn24.pl

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Hospital Fined for Denying Abortion

July 7, 2014
Bogdan Chazan

Bogdan Chazan

Health Minister Bartosz Arłukowicz has informed the public that the Polish National Health Service (NFZ) has fined a Warsaw hospital nearly PLN 70,000 for refusing to help a heavily pregnant woman. The patient was deprived of sufficient care and was not properly examined despite the fact that her pregnancy was high risk. What is more, when it became clear that the foetus had serious birth defects, the woman was denied an abortion, which she was legally entitled to. The head of the hospital, Bogdan Chazan, refused to perform the procedure, invoking the so-called clause of conscience. Polish law allows for such situations on the condition that the patient will be directed to another doctor who can perform the denied procedure; furthermore, the clause only applies if there is no immediate risk to a patient’s life. As the Minister of Health pointed out, the clause of conscience is not meant to be used by an entire medical facility, as was the case with the fined hospital. He added that when Chazan failed to inform the pregnant woman about her options, letting his religious convictions interfere with performing his duties, he broke the law; consequently, the local prosecutor’s office and other appropriate institutions will be notified.
tvn24.pl

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Warsaw Breaks World Record

July 3, 2014
Rolling to Success

Rolling to Success

Over 4,000 rollerbladers took part in an event organised by Michał Machowski from Polskater. On 19 June, Warsaw Nightskating set a new world record for the largest parade of inline skaters at a single venue. The previous Guinness world record belonged to Paris. Their parade of inline skaters consisted of 1,188 participants who skated on the streets of Paris on 15 June 2008. The new record was achieved thanks to the 4,013 rollerskaters who skated a distance of 20 km together. The route began at Krakowskie Przedmieście and continued along Nowy Świat, Aleje Jerozolimskie, Poniatowski Bridge, Aleja Zieleniecka towards Wał Miedzeszyński and back across Poniatowski Bridge to Krakowskie Przedmieście. “I learned to skate two months ago but I’m doing pretty good now,” said Maciek, who took part in Nightskating for the first time. “My friend sent me an invitation on Facebook, so I came to break the record,” he explains while showing off his skating skills. Bartek learned to skate a year ago and in May took part in Nightskating for the first time. “It’s all about soaking up the cool atmosphere and spending time with friends in an active way, beating the record is less important to me,” he emphasises. Participation in Nightskating is always free. If you are under 18 years of age you must have permission to attend from a parent or guardian. The next event will be held in Warsaw on 10 July.
warszawa.gazeta.pl

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Less Pee in Baltic Sea

July 2, 2014
Clean Water?

Clean Water?

Poland has finally joined the European elite in terms of the quality of its bathing waters. Thanks to European funds for sewage treatment plants and district sewage systems, all of Poland’s seaside waters have attained high marks in terms of quality. Every year, before the beginning of the summer season, the European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes water quality reports for Europe’s bathing waters. The ratings take into account the concentration levels of such bacteria as Escherichia coli or Enterococcus faecali, which indicate pollution from sewage or animal excrement. All bathing waters (the list includes about 22,000 official bathing areas across the EU) receive a mark: “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient”, “poor”. The beaches of Cyprus are the cleanest. According to EU experts there were many reservations to the water quality of popular beaches such as the French Riviera, the Costa Brava and Liguria (about 3% of bathing waters received only a “sufficient” mark). Compared to these resorts, Polish bathing waters did well. Only one bathing area out of 200 taken under consideration by the EEA received the lowest mark, a beach by Tarpieński Lake, near Grudziądz. “In 2009, over 12% of Poland’s Baltic bathing areas received the lowest marks. So much has changed. The massive improvement of Baltic water quality is a result of the improvement of sewage treatment plants and investment,” says Jakub Skorupski from the Green Federation GAJA. Unfortunately, EEA quality control does not take into consideration sand pollution on beaches or problems with chemicals and other rubbish (cans, bottles, etc.), which often pollute the water. The resorts that received an “excellent” mark include, among others, Krynica Morska, Sopot, Jurata, Jastarnia and Świnoujście.
metromsn.gazeta.pl

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More People Drowning

June 25, 2014
Worrying Stats

Worrying Stats

Since the beginning of May, more than 100 people have drowned, according to the latest police data. WOPR rescue service life guards have appealed to the public to only use guarded bathing spots and not to enter the water after drinking alcohol. In the summer there are numerous social events, including many co-organised by WOPR rescue service that highlight a ban on alcohol before swimming. Several thousand posters informing the public about the risks of drinking and swimming will be put up around seaside resorts, as well as in towns close to lakes and rivers across Poland. “Even a small amount of alcohol impairs balance, the ability to swim and our strength while significantly reducing the ability to recognise and assess risk,” warns Jerzy Telak, head of the WOPR water rescue service. Life guards have also called for caution and a respect for safety during holidays by the sea or freshwater. Young children should swim only under adult supervision in inflatable wheels or sleeves, preferably in fluorescent, highly visible colours. Hired water equipment should always be checked before entering the water, including boats and canoes, oars and life jackets.
Newsweek

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Brain Trauma Changes Man

June 23, 2014
Brain Trauma

Brain Trauma

Five years ago, when Leszek Zieliński went on a camping trip to Austria, he was an active sales manager of a large company; as well as his native Polish, he also spoke fluent German and English. He came back a quiet musician and is now living off a state pension. He forgot how to speak English, but rediscovered his love for music. While camping in Austria, Leszek was stung by wasps and went into anaphylactic shock. It took doctors two hours to resuscitate and stabilise him, only to have him slip into a coma. He woke up one month later, in Poland. Unexpectedly, he started to enjoy playing music again. It had been many years since he last touched a saxophone or piano, but Leszek used to be a professional musician. Two years after the accident, his ability to speak English returned in a matter of hours. Doctors found neither this development nor the earlier changes particularly surprising because, as they explained, when a person’s brain experiences a serious trauma, it unlocks previously unused structures and pathways, and forms new connections, sometimes even causing considerable changes in one’s character and personality.
tvn24.pl

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Poles Opt for Safe Holidays

June 19, 2014
Staying Safe

Staying Safe

Polish people, like everyone else, want to feel safe during vacation time. Increasingly more tourists are purchasing private insurance policies. Holidaymakers are slowly learning that private holiday insurance is a better idea than the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or insurance acquired from a travel agent. This year, approximately two-thirds of vacationing Poles decided to take out private holiday insurance. The number of people who have chosen private policies has increased by 10% from last year, according to Gazeta Wyborcza. 63% of respondents will buy their own insurance for their vacation, according to the “Turystyka po polsku” (Tourism in Polish) research poll, conducted by Liberty Direct in cooperation with ARC Rynek i Opinia. “Many tourists are simply not aware of the costs of medical expenses abroad, which can be extremely high if we are not insured,” says Ilona Tomaszewska, a travel insurance expert at Liberty Direct.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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