Heart surgeon arrested after stalling operation over bribe

A 59-year-old heart surgeon and department chief at one of Athens's biggest public hospitals, Evangelismos, has been arrested after demanding that a patient pay him 1,500 euros for surgery that had been deemed life-saving, police reported on Thursday.

According to the unnamed male patient who filed the complaint, he had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack and was told he needed immediate surgery.

The surgeon, who headed the department where the patient was being treated, demanded 1,500 euros for the surgery to go ahead, according to the report. When the patient appeared reluctant to pay up, the surgeon allegedly threatened to have him discharged without performing the procedure.

After some negotiation, the doctor agreed to an upfront payment of 500 euros in order to schedule the surgery at once. A relative of the patient delivered the money in marked notes after the police became involved.

The investigation also found that the same doctor had demanded money from another patient in May.