ATHENS – With no names and no reports of disciplinary action – if any – against doctors in Greece demanding bribes to perform operations and carry out routine services on patients, another has been arrested on charges of asking for money.
The doctor, 65, works in a public hospital in Attica but also was not identified as authorities said he was apprehended where he works while in possession of an amount in pre-marked banknotes that he had received from the patient.
Police filed a case against him and he went before a prosecutor with no news about what, if anything, happened to him or if he can continue to practice despite the severity of the charge.
It's a common practice among Greek doctors to solicit bribes in return for operating or better treatment and rarely punished but a disciplinary committee of the national health system (ESY) in August, 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 notorious anarchist group Rouvikonas to break into the office of one physician in Athens and threaten to harm him if he kept asking for bribes.
It's not reported whether the doctors are allowed to keep practicing after being found guilty of asking for bribes to do their duty, also violating the ancient Hippocratic oath that physicians take, promising to first, do no harm.
In February that year, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist from the University General Hospital of Alexandroupoli in northern Greece was fired for demanding bribes. The National Health Service’s central disciplinary council ordered the dismissal, almost three years after the incident, said Kathimerini, with the decision only now revealed without any indication whether the doctor was allowed to keep working, even now.