Rome

Doctors suspended for pressuring patients to pay for surgery

Show films surgeons recommending expensive procedure for child

Doctors suspended for pressuring patients to pay for surgery

Rome, March 25 - Two doctors at Rome's Bambin Gesu' children's hospital have been suspended from service after they were filmed pressuring patients to pay for surgery that is covered under the state health care system. Reporters from the satirical television show Le Iene caught the doctors telling the parents of a child needing an expensive and urgent surgical procedure that to avoid a four-to-five-month wait, they could opt for private surgery costing 38,000 euros. They also failed to tell the parents that other Italian hospitals could perform the surgery and suggested they go overseas. After having the surgery performed at Rome's Gemelli hospital with only a week's wait and for free, the parents contacted the program's producers, who then filmed the doctors repeating what the couple had been told. The directors of Bambin Gesu' hospital issued a statement saying that the doctors have been indefinitely suspended while investigations are being carried out. The hospital's statement said that they were completely unaware of the doctors' conduct and "we wish to express our deepest apologies to the family".

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