ATHENS – Greek police have ordered in inquiry into whether the death of a 67-year-old man who said a senior heart surgeon at one of the country’s best hospitals refused to operate on him unless a 1500-euro bribe was paid was related to a long delay before the surgery was undertaken by another doctor.
Neither the man nor the doctor have been named, but authorities said the patient died at Evangelismos Hospital on July 14 after suffering another heart attack after undergoing a quadruple bypass operation.
The man had been rushed to the hospital in Athens in late June after suffering a heart attack which required immediate surgery, his family told media.
The heart surgeon allegedly demanded 1,500 euros under the table to perform the operation and is said to have told the man that he would be discharged from the hospital unless the payment was made.
According to the police report, the 67-year-old explained that he could not afford such an amount and after 18 days of waiting agreed to pay a smaller amount that would be handed over to the surgeon by a relative.
He then reported the incident to the police who marked the bills the relative paid over to the 60-year-old surgeon, leading to his arrest.
The 60-year-old surgeon already faces felony charges for demanding a bribe. Speaking on Mega television on July 11 ahead of his surgery, the pensioner labeled the surgeon “a common blackmailer.”
Doctors in state hospitals are not allowed to ask for a fee for services as they are paid by the state, but it’s common for them to demand it anyway and some refuse to perform services otherwise.
State authorities said most of the black money is never reported and that doctors are among the most notorious tax cheats in a country full of them.
Privacy laws in Greece protect people from being named unless they are convicted in criminal proceedings but the government and police routinely put out the names of high-level political corruption cases, such as releasing the names and volumes of information and alleged evidence in the case of the ultra far-right Golden Dawn party whose leaders have been charged with operating a criminal gang.
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