Court upholds Thessaloniki surgeon’s life sentence for patient’s death

Court upholds Thessaloniki surgeon’s life sentence for patient’s death

A Mixed Jury Court in Thessaloniki upheld on Tuesday a life sentence handed to a resident vascular surgeon accused of killing a female patient in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in April 2017 and then dumping her body in a forest.

The court ruled unanimously that the 43-year-old man is guilty of “homicide with possible intent, committed by omission,” without recognizing any mitigating factors. Following the verdict, the accused returned to prison. 

The 36-year-old mother of three had visited Ippokrateio Hospital for a scheduled surgery to remove varicose veins. According to the case file, the surgeon led her to an abandoned section of the hospital where he administered two strong anesthetic drugs which were not necessary for her operation. The anesthetics appear to have caused respiratory problems, resulting in her death. The accused, instead of calling for help, loaded the 36-year-old in the trunk of his car and drove her to the region of Halkidiki and threw her body off a cliff, where she was found after a few days.

Authorities had suspected the surgeon from the start of the investigation, as he was the last person to see the victim. The police investigator in the case testified as to numerous phone calls and messages between the doctor and his patient, adding that her DNA was found in the trunk of the 39-year-old’s car. They also found that his phone GPS had recorded the entire route he had followed from Thessaloniki to Halkidiki.

Judges in the first trial also heard from the victim’s husband, who claimed that the doctor had taken an inordinate interest in the 36-year-old mother of two, whom he described as an “attractive woman who turned heads.” On his side, the surgeon claimed that her death was due to a “medical error” and had no intention of killing her. 

For the same case, the Administrative Court of Appeal in Thessaloniki awarded compensation to the relatives for mental distress amounting to 700,000 euros.

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