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Thessaloniki Doctor Charged With Demanding Bribe from Patient

THESSALONIKI — In yet another case – no one's ever named – another doctor in Greece has been charged of demanding a bribe from a patient to perform an operation, this one for 5,000 euros ($5937.17.) 

It occurred in the country's second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki where the doctor was arrested after the transaction with the patient who used bills marked by the police, said Kathimerini.

The doctor later appeared before a prosecutor but there was no report on what happened in court or if he was allowed to keep practicing, which has been allowed in other cases despite the severity of the charge. 

In August, 2019, a disciplinary committee of the national health system (ESY) 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.

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, the paper said, with the decision's announcement delayed by the panel without any indication whether the doctor was allowed to keep working.

“The patient who reported the incident was successfully operated on by another specialist,” the hospital said. The criminal doctor wasn't named in this case either.

“Anyone making a complaint should not be afraid. There are many capable medics who are also extremely honest,” it added, noting that “in all cases of bribe-taking the punishment will be merciless,” without explaining why if that’s the case it took so long for a decision.

Earlier in February, a Greek surgeon charged with demanding a bribe from a cancer patient was released from pretrial custody on 20,000 euros ($22,836) bail but wasn't named with no indication when, or if he would be prosecuted.

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