Minister asks patients tapped for bribes to come forward

Health Minister Makis Voridis on Thursday called on citizens being asked for bribes by doctors at state hospitals to come forward following the suspension of a 59-year-old heart surgeon at one of Athens’s biggest public hospitals, Evangelismos, for allegedly demanding a bribe from a patient for critical surgery.

The 59-year-old, who faces graft charges, has been suspended, said Voridis, who vowed disciplinary action against him depending on the outcome of a judicial probe. The minister added that the patient who reported the doctor should be an “example” for others to follow.

The patient who filed the complaint against the Evangelismos department chief said he was told he needed immediate surgery after being rushed to the hospital following a heart attack. The surgeon allegedly demanded 1,500 euros and threatened to have the patient discharged unless he paid. Eventually the doctor agreed to an upfront payment of 500 euros which was delivered in marked notes on Wednesday after the police became involved.

The same doctor is alleged to have demanded money from another patient in May.