Recently one of the most experienced and well known oncology surgeons in Tirana’s main hospital “Mother Teresa” was arrested on bribery charges. The surgeon’s arrest was treated as a high profile case by the media, and rightly so.
The police cuffed him in public as he was coming out of a restaurant near his job. According to the media the doctor did not object as he was presented with the charges and then escorted out. The surgeon had been under investigation for several months after former patients and people had reported him for bribery.
The 58 year old, Agrim Kraja, has distinguished himself as an oncological surgeon with some 30 years of experience. However, the growing number of bribery accusations against him could not go unheeded for long, which is what brought about the courts decision to issue an arrest warrant in his name.
The event brought about mixed reactions by both the media, public and health officials. For the media this was another case of corruption in the health sector where hospital service conditions seem to be unable to remove the mark of corruption in all levels. Meanwhile, health officials and hospital staff had mixed reactions as well. Health ministry officials condemned the way that the doctor was publicly arrested (comparable to the arrest of a criminal) as it diminishes the dignity and role of the doctor as a public health servant, whom demands respect by all. On the other side, those who spoke in his defense against the charges were few.
For the public, including myself, the event hopefully will serve to bring some much needed attention to this plague of our society in a sphere where all of us are vulnerable – our health security. Let’s hope that something good will come out of this.
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