Posts Tagged ‘bribes’

What? Surgeon in public hospital arrested for ‘fakelaki’? Not possible…

July 10, 2014

Ι am afraid there is no cure for this country and the people. Greek media report that police arrested a heart surgeon and department chief at one of Athens biggest public hospitals for demanding bribe for a surgery. A famous fakelaki of 500 euro. The patient informed the police and the story ended in the surgeon’s arrest and suspension from duty. He faces felony charges.

“The surgeon was caught in flagranti with the marked banknotes on him, He kept a book with notes of money he had received and distributed [to other doctors] as well.”

In the report of state TV NERIT, a citizen said that “if the doctors receiving good salaries they couldn’t ask for bribes and we wouldn’t give.”

To tell you the truth nobody is surprised. The practice of public hospital doctors to demand from patients black money in an envelope -therefore the name ‘fakelaki’, i.e. little envelope – is as old as the public hospitals and the public services.

Four years of economic crisis, over-taxation and reforms in Greek hospitals have changed nothing. At least. they changed nothing in the deep-rooted mentality of bribe and corruption among the public servants.

The good news is that the tariffs for fakelaki were decreased due to the crisis – but that could be just a rumor….

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. (ekathimerini)

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

Sorry seems to be the hardest word!

June 17, 2010

Amid the song and dance of famous “Wedding Party on a Battleship” – the AVEROF, you know… -, which became talk of the country, I forgot, or better say, I didn’t catch up with other important news and issues that affect crisis-suffering Greeks. You may have understood by now that one of my blogging hobbies is the corruption-related scandals of politicians,  bribes of state officials , tax evasions of famous singers.

Here is the point where I have to make a confession. It is much more spicy to do my research about the “Bold and Beautiful” of local High Society & Showbiz than to write about the “Old Boys” in local Politics  like Tsochatzopoulos,  Mantelis or even Vourloumis.

Blogging about the Greek VIPs turns my grey life into a colorful one: the pictures are joyful, the stories light, the heels high, the sand golden and the sea blue…  Even if the stories end up in political resignation (Gerekou) or insult history (Averof-Part).

Thus these stories/pictures have a didactic purpose as well: I can see how hair extensions can totally change my image, how extreme surgery can ruin my face, how shiny make up can potentially grant me a reduction by the local deli.  

On the contrary, blogging  about  Old Boys – broken men in their 70’s – appearing in their grey/blue business suits turn my grey life into black. They cause psychological harm, they trigger the ultimate depression. Not only in terms of colors.

These stories are depressing because these old boys have ‘sweetened’ their own life and  ‘kicked back’ mine. Because they are still walk around. Because they are still among us!!!

As Sir Elton John predicted years ago “Sorry seems to be the hardest word!”

Greece: Maria has committed a ‘financial crime’…

May 9, 2010

Hand With Euro Isolated On White Free Stock Photo

Maria P., 75, has just completed an angiogram and an ECG test at a private hospital in Athens. Angio and ECG are part of some eight to ten medical tests she has to undergo in order to find the reason for her “thing”. “I get a… thing” she says, “and nobody can explain where it comes from”.

The “thing” is a sudden tremor that grabs her body from time to time. Her legs and hands start shaking, her body gets stiff and freezing cold, freezing, her mouth gets dry, her eyes are open wide. Maria cries and screams at her daughter for help. She is in panic! As the panic slowly relieves, the daughter finds herself literally laying on top her mother’s in a struggling effort to calm her down and keep her warm.

The family doctor, who was called twice, blamed some pills that Maria takes for her chronic illness.  But he was not sure…

The daughter decides to consult some experts and find the best solution for her mother. The two women visit one of the state hospitals in Athens. There, they are told to come back when Maria has her seizures. This is a difficult, if not unmanageable task…

They consult again the family doctor. He has no clue but finally prescribes a series of medical tests. If the tests are performed at the clinics of IKA (State Social Security) Maria will most probably pay nothing or her financial contribution will be small. But IKA has a weird appointment system: One has to wait at least three weeks to get an appointment by a doctor. Maria and her daughter calculate that it will take them at least six months to find out what the issue is with the “thing”.
They decide to grab on Maria’s savings and go to a private hospital. Maria’s pension after 35 years of work is € 600.- ($763) per month. After expenses for food and home utilities there is not a single cent left at the end of every month. Maria had managed to save some 10.000 Euro for difficult times, like sickness, and her funeral.

So here they sit, Maria and her daughter, at cardiologist’s office at the private hospital. The doctor, a beauty at her middle 30’s, is very careful with the old and fragile lady. Maria has to consult an endocrinologist. The doctor suspects that  Maria suffers from hypothyroidism, a common disease among elderly.

The two women are not comfortable with hospital payment procedures so they ask the doctor about. “If you pay me directly it is 50, if at the cashier…  it will cost you 120 Euro”, the doctor answers calmly.

Without a second though Maria opens her wallet and hands out a 50-Euro note to the doctor. The doctor takes the brown paper money and hides it in her book agenda with  a soft move hides.  She smiles a goodbye to Maria and her daughter.

Maria completes the necessary medical tests at the hospital and the result is clear; she   suffers from hypothyroidism. It will be easily cured with tablets.

At the end of the month, Maria gets rid of her “thing” and 750 E of her savings. The receipts she collected in the process however over only 600 of the expenses. Had she insisted for receipts for all her medical expenses she would have spent at least 180 – 200  Euros more.

What would you have done, if you were Maria?

Today I read in the Greek newspaper Eleytherotypia that  3 out of 10 Greeks pay ‘fakelaki’ (bribes) to doctors working not only in public nut also in  private sector.

In year 2009 Maria spent 2.100 Euro from her savings to cover medical expenses, including a new dental bridge.

This year Maria realizes that her pension will be cut by 35%.  

Every evening, Maria sits in front of TV, yoghurt and two slices of bread at the coffee table to watch the Prime Time News. Maria listens speechless about the billions owed by the state and asks herself, like millions of Greeks, “Where did the money go?” She listens in awe about the new austerity measures, the VAT and tax increases and wonders how she will come along with her pension.

 Very often she watches the Minister in charge of cutting her pension.  She curses and she is glad nobody is around to listen.

 Maria worries about her future.  Maria worries but she won’t get panicked anymore. Against panic, she swallows every morning a small anti-thyroid tablet.


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