Patient who accused heart surgeon of blackmail dies

A 67-year-old man who last week accused a senior heart surgeon and department chief at Athens's Evangelismos Hospital of demanding a bribe to perform life-saving surgery, died on Monday after undergoing a quadruple bypass.

The 67-year-old had been rushed to Evangelismos Hospital 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 67-year-old 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 67-year-old was subsequently operated on by a different surgeon but died in intensive care on Monday after suffering another heart attack.

Police have ordered an inquiry to ascertain whether the delay may have contributed to the pensioner's death.

The 60-year-old surgeon already faces felony charges for demanding a bribe.

Speaking on Mega television on Friday ahead of his surgery, the 67-year-old pensioner labelled the surgeon "a common blackmailer."