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Society

Another Greek Doctor Arrested for Demanding Bribe for Treatment

ATHENS – A common practice in Greece that often goes unreported – public hospital or clinic doctors asking for bribes to do their job – has seen one now charged with telling a pregnant woman to pay him 500 euros ($606) for service.

He was caught, said Kathimerini, in a sting operation after the woman went to the police who provided money in marked bills that were found in his possession after he met her.

He was taken before a prosecutor but wasn't named, the same practice in other cases where doctors have been charged and with no reports after that whether they were prosecuted or allowed to keep practicing and retain their licenses.

During that time, the public doesn't know who was facing the charge.

Doctors in Greece often solicit bribes in return for operating or better treatment and rarely punished but a disciplinary committee of the national health system (ESY) in 2019 found a doctor guilty of the crime, two years after being arrested and without naming the offender, to protect his privacy rights.

He had been accused of demanding and receiving a bribe to perform surgery on a patient at the University Hospital of Evros in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, for which he had received an 18-month suspended sentence by a court in Alexandroupoli for the same case.

The doctor had claimed that he received the bribe as an upfront fee to provide post-surgery treatment and no further details were given despite the extent of the practice that led the anarchist group Rouvikonas to break into the office of one physician in Athens and threaten to harm him if he kept asking for bribes.

In September, 2020, a heart surgeon whom authorities would not identify, also the head of a clinic at the Ippokrateio Hospital was arrested on charges of bribe-taking and breach of duty but not for asking for the money.

He was alleged to have pocketed 1,600 euros ($1863.09)  in “gifts” from a total of five patients, the paper said, athough there were reportedly no indications he asked for it.

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