NEWS

Probe into surgery delay that killed patient

An Athens prosecutor on Tuesday ordered an inquiry to determine whether a state hospital doctor, who allegedly postponed crucial heart surgery for a patient in a bid to secure a bribe, should be held responsible for the death of the 67-year-old.

The patient underwent a quadruple bypass at the capital’s Evangelismos Hospital on Saturday and died in the institution’s intensive-care unit the following day. The operation is alleged to have been delayed by an estimated 18 days as the 60-year-old surgeon pressed the patient for an under-the-table payment in order to proceed.

A coroner who examined the body of the 67-year-old concluded he had suffered a series of heart attacks, both recent and older incidents. According to Nikos Karakoukis’s initial assessment, the patient had suffered one heart attack a long time before his admission to the hospital and probably another two more recently. Toxicology tests are to be carried out and the results, expected in about 10 days, should give a more accurate picture and indicate to what extent the surgeon’s procrastination led to the patient’s death.

The investigation is to be overseen by the police’s internal affairs department and will also focus on the depositions of the deceased’s relatives. A parallel probe is being carried out by the hospital’s management.

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