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Unnamed Greek Heart Surgeon Charged With Bribe Taking

September 28, 2020

ATHENS – A Greek 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 asking for the money.

Under Greek privacy laws, suspects are not usually named unless it's a celebrity or politician or someone a party in power wants to identify, even in major cases and sometimes not even if they are convicted.

The 64-year-old heart surgeon is alleged to have pocketed 1,600 euros ($1863.09)  in “gifts” from a total of five patients between Sept. 14-24, said Kathimerini although there were reportedly no indications he asked for it.

Despite that, he was to face a prosecutor although there was no explanation of the apparent contradiction. 

Doctors asking for bribes – gifts – from patients is a common practice in Greece for which few have been prosecuted although the notorious anarchist group Rouvikonas broke into the office of one it accused of the practice and threatened violence if it happened again.

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 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.

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 2019, 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.  

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