Thursday, February 15, 2007

Medical corruption case stuns Poland


A doctor has been accused of murder because his patient's family refused to bribe him.

Dr Miroslaw G – we have to use this silly name as he is under criminal investigation, but everyone knows who he is – a respected heart surgeon here, has been accused of taking bribes for preferential treatment on the national health service. No surprise there. It’s been going on since the old communist days.

But what Dr G has also been accused of is turning off the life support system of a post-op heart transplant patient, after the patients family refused to pay the good doctor a bribe. The patient died, as a result.

The doctor has also been charged with numerous other offences.

Bribing doctors used to be common in Poland. But attitudes to this sort of practice are changing, and not before time.

Less doctors these days are excepting, for instance, 1,000 dollars for jumping an operation waiting queue. But some will continue doing this until people stop offering them bribes in the first place.

But what kind of person would offer doctors a bribe, and so deprive more honest or poorer patients their place in the queue?

Well, there is a guy at work who regularly does this. In fact, he tries to maintain that it is ‘the only way’ to get decent treatment. Once, he was actually lecturing a fellow worker that it was almost his ‘moral duty’ to do so.

What sort of freak thinks like that?

The guy in question truly is a Polish 1980s dinosaur, who wreaks corruption from every pore in his body. But thankfully, he is widely reviled at work for this. Virtually everyone - apart from one elderly worker, now retired, who never knew any different from the commie days, when bribing really was the only way to get things done here – thinks the guy is a complete shit.

So Poles are becoming disgusted by those who give and receive bribes in hospitals and doctors surgeries. Hooray!

The guy at work, all the other bribers, and those who take them, have a hand in the culture that led to the death at the (alleged) hands of the doctor, Miroslaw G. There is blood on all their hands.

I hope they all get very sick, very soon.

More?
Sex required in trade for operation at Polish hospital, Polish Outlook

61 comments:

jannovak57 said...

In the bad old days of the communists you had to bribe for every service imaginable or it wouldn’t materialize. This is how people with skills that were in demand could augment their miserable state salaries and get by.

One always brought the doctor a gift lets call it private health insurance of sorts. This was officially frowned on but no attempt was made to stop it. In those days to get by, people lived by their well-developed wits. The society existed in an atmosphere of bribery and theft (on a grand scale). I dare say that the western mind could not even understand the shear magnitude of these practices but it’s what past for normalcy in those days.

There was a celebrated case of a doctor who was murdered by an angry father. The man had no means of paying the bribe and his daughter died while in this doctor’s care. He used a car to kill the doctor outside of the hospital.

The deeply ingrained mentality of giving and accepting bribes is based on how people had to get by when normal society didn’t exist as was the case during the nazis occupation and later the communist period. It will take a long time to reverse this mentality but with a combination of education and a bit of heavy-handed law enforcement it can be minimized.

Brad Zimmerman said...

When there is talk about teaching patriotism in schools I wish they would teach kids what it really, really means to be a patriot.

Bribery and corruption are, to me, some of the most hurtful and unpatriotic things a person can do. Whether it's bribing a cop, tram ticket checker, hospital worker or anyone else... Each bribe is like a tiny bomb going off, wreaking havok on one's fellow citizens.

Beatroot or someone else might be interested in this: http://www.niedajelapowek.pl/

nemeczek said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Albert said...

jannovak said: "the deeply ingrained mentality of giving and accepting bribes is based on how people had to get by when normal society didn’t exist as was the case during the nazis occupation and later the communist period. It will take a long time to reverse this mentality but with a combination of education and a bit of heavy-handed law enforcement it can be minimized."

… so until we rollout that perfect blend of reeducation and strong police response and give it some time to set in for…what’s fair? 2-3 years?.. 5yrs?.. how ‘bout 10 years, … yeah.. 10 years should be enough ;) , we should probably cut those guys a break… right? After all they are the victims – it’s all because those nasty commies and the nazis … I like how you bootstrap your case with historical facts of your choice. Unfortunately (for Poland) the culture of bribery is part of Poland’s historical heritage. It contributed to a number of national disasters long before the commies and the Nazis entered the stage. Remember the partitions? Jan, you can’t blame all social problem on the occupation and the communists. I’m not passing a judgment – just trying to recognize that Polish national psyche is as complicated as it gets.

jannovak57 said...

Brad Zimmerman said: “Each bribe is like a tiny bomb going off”
I fully agree with you that bribery is an unpatriotic act due to the harm it does to society. As patriotic education seems in fashion today, devoting classroom time to explaining the harm done by bribery would be time well spent.

Albert said: “culture of bribery is part of Poland’s historical heritage”

Yes I can agree with that point, but it still relates to not developing like a normal country. The absence of civil society for long stretches of time cannot be discounted as having no long lasting effect. We can look to a period longer than the last century and include Czarist Russia, Austro-Hungry and Imperial Germany all of which suppressed Poland’s existence, language and culture.

Without a doubt society has been shaped by its history, what’s now needed is a long period sovereignty and peace. I agree with being intolerant of this type of corruption and acting against it with the full force of the law at every opportunity.

The re-education of a society will be a complicated and long-term affair.

beatroot said...

Albert – I don’t think Jan is excusing corruption but he is trying to put it in context. This kind of thing does not happen in Britain, for example, because we just haven’t had the same historical experience.

We forget too that Polish doctors are paid ridiculously and insultingly low wages, so they are still open to bribes. Pay them more and they wouldn’t be so easily tempted by the lowlifes.

Corruption is never good, but medical corruption is the worst of the worst because it denies other sick people treatment. But there is a positive way to think about this latest case. Making things illegal is one thing – but a much more powerful preventative is when a practice, like drink driving for example, becomes social unacceptable. And I think the case of Dr G will help loads in making the medical bribers and the takers of bribes into social lepers.

guest said...

You all look at the story, but do not see what it really is:

This is just another part of successful PiS PR compaign:

Ziobro is a hero! The CBA is a success! Look: we cought a (is he really so) famous surgeon who tried to make poor "rolnicy" to sell cow to pay the bribe! And he was also killing people! (...and may be eating them?)

Its all over newspapers, and now also on this blog.

...and yes, one can say bribery is bad and bribery by doctors is even worse, and the world is not fair. Its just not the point.

geez said...

janovak wrote: "...it still relates to not developing like a normal country."
___________________
All you retarded liberals do is make lame excuses....

Sorry, but I couldn't resist. You conservative Poles always attack liberals for noting societal causes for the wrongs done by individuals. But you always seem to blame society for your national ills.

geez said...

But on the plus side, things could be worse (and are for Poles with kids who emigrated to or live/work in Britain).

Britain is the worst country in the industrialized world in which to be a child, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

polishpenguin said...

Beat,

"This kind of thing does not happen in Britain"


That's because it hasn't surfaced yet. Sorry, but every country has some sort of corruption in it, it just depends how much freedom the media has in that country.

opamp said...

in our interactions with doctors, we were not equals

This is because of the way the medical insurance works in Poland: the doctor is paid anyhow (and paid badly at that) and has no particular interest in curing the patient. Unless the patient sues him for malpractice, but even in such case the patient has small chances of winning. So a bribe is essentially a way of ensuring that the doctor does his job correctly.

This is just another part of successful PiS PR compaign:

Prediction: in a few weeks when everyone forgets about it the case is dropped, the guy gets out of jail and sues everyone for defamation.

beatroot said...

That's because [British doctors taking bribes] hasn’t surfaced yet.

Yeah Penguin, and men on the moon haven’t surfaced yet either, and until they do there is no men on the moon. Get real – the two countries are completely different – T Rex died out when the asteroid hit it a billion years ago in London – in Poland they still roam…and British doctors are now being paid very well and if you tried to bribe them they would just tell you to f-off..

Guest said:
You all look at the story, but do not see what it really is: This is just another part of successful PiS PR campaign

No. Politicians of course will try and put a spin on it – but this is not JUST about that – what it is primarily is an opportunity for Poles to tackle their own problem…and that means engaging politically, supporting doctors in their struggle for more money, and NOT thinking you can change collective problems by disgusting individual solutions like bribing doctors. When you bribe a doctor you hurt someone else. If you bribe a doctor then you are a bastard. Period.

polishpenguin said...

Beat,

"if you tried to bribe them they would just tell you to f-off.."

You're living in a fantasy world. The differences is that in Poland, doctors are paid really crappy and really don't care what they're doing. In "rich" countries (i.e. Britain, U.S.), the rich want to get richer. In Britain there's no corruption? Come on, you're better than that.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

If you have any evidence that doctors take bribes in the UK then you would have an argument...except that you have not, and are talking out of your penquin bottom. Poland has particular problems - let's try and deal with them without this silly aside.

polishpenguin said...

http://abolishthegmc.blogspot.com/2006/08/general-medical-council-co_115556634180504711.html

beatroot said...

and.....?

polishpenguin said...

You wanted an example, so I gave you one. I agree with you that Poland's healthcare system is almost 3rd world like in terms of corruption and how people get treated, however, bribes happen everywhere, some small, some large. As I've said before, it depends how much society wants to listen to it before they start not to care anymore. In the U.S. a few years ago, why did we have a law that capped the amount you can receive if a doctor makes a mistake? 250,000 is what everyone's life is worth apparently. Medical corruption is everywhere, it depends if you want to listen to it or not.

beatroot said...

penguin, stop talking out of your birdy bottom.

There simply is no comparison between UK and Poland - on any level - and I don’t know why you are wasting your time with this and basically avoiding the issue.

Of course, you can find individual cases in every country in the world, Thing is, my feathered friend, it is not, never was, never will be in the culture of the UK to bribe doctors. It simply isn’t. What we are talking about here is CULTURE.

Polish post communist culture is so completely different from Britain’s that even trying to compare them is just stupid.

So stop trying to avoid the issue and let’s deal with a Polish problem that really needs dealing with. The longer this ‘every country is corrupt’ nonsense goes on, the longer Poles will avoid the fact that Poles have a problem, different from countries that do not share their history – many Poles bribe doctors, many doctors take bribes – which is a crime against other Poles.

polishpenguin said...

"What we are talking about here is CULTURE. "


And when Britain stuck their noses in the Middle East in the early 20th century and in India and anywhere else they can managed to get in, you don't think they bribed people? In terms of culture, Britain is right up there as well. It was their culture to get anything they can get their hands on, kind of like Poland right now.

I've said it before, it's a big problem in Poland to bribe someone and it should be fixed. Let's look a few weeks ago with the funeral home and hospital debacle. And to see that the ambulance doctor getting 25 years is laughable, capital punishment was more like it in my opinion.

And I'll point an important world in your title, "accused." He hasn't been convicted yet, so stop jumping into conclusions that this doctor is guilty as your article says he is. Too many times the media jumps into conclusions (i.e., Lepper's child with Anita that didn't turn out true). Don't be the same way with your blog.

beatroot said...

If you want me to list the crimes of British Imperialism then I will, and I know them much better than you do. But again, this is a rather pathetic attempt to avoid the issue, and one that has prolonged the shitty practice of bribing doctors in Poland the crime that it is…

In 1945, people from my family came back from the war with the political will to end poverty. One of the way they did this was to create the national Health Service – something even today is very much part of (what is left) of what Brits think it means to be British. Health care free at the point of use FOR EVERYONE.

And it, by and large, worked. Mention the NHS and Brits get all proud.

So any culture of patients having to bribe doctors simply does not exists.

The situation, of course, is not the same in Poland, for very obvious reasons.

So stop bullshiting, get real, and let’s have political pressure put on this government to stop spending soooo much energy on routing out collaborators and END THE POST COMMUNIST CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN POLAND.

polishpenguin said...

"END THE POST COMMUNIST CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN POLAND"


Get rid of the SLD =)

As Lech Welsa said, tie them up and put them in body bags to be thrown into the river. That's how you solve that problem.

beatroot said...

More gibberish.

Each doctor who accepts a bribe, each patient who offers one, is a free individual who has made a decision from their own free will. They must take the blame for what is happening here…

And if you want proof of what I am saying about the British and the NHS then see here..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2007360,00.html

polishpenguin said...

If the NHS is like a religion to you guys in Britain, how come the U.K. ranks last in the U.N. rich countries for raising a child, which includes health care?

http://www.vernoncoleman.com/britishhospitals.htm

Those reasons sound a lot like the U.S. hospitals, even though they're private.

http://society.guardian.co.uk/NHSstaff/comment/0,,468526,00.html

And that sounds like a ton of red tape. Interesting.

A government run healthcare system has or will have just as much red tape than a private hospital or a communist run hospital.

geez said...

Is anybody here going to seriously suggest they would prefer to spend a few days in a Polish hospital over a British hospital?

And, PP, you sound like you'd like to have completely and only private healthcare. That's great if you can afford it.

And not all US hospitals are private. Indeed, even private hospitals receive all sorts of subsidies and grants and whatnot.

jannovak57 said...

Polishpenguin said: “As Lech Welsa said, tie them up and put them in body bags to be thrown into the river. That's how you solve that problem.”
As good as this sounds, he sure didn’t follow through with this thought. It’s never too late for a good idea. However a more environmentally friendly methodology should be considered so forget the body bags. Use locally produced Polish rope (natural hemp) and existing lampposts. The advantage would be no plastic bag in the river and the rope can be reused.

Albert said...

I don't mean to mix my species here but dear polishpenguin you are one confused puppy: we are all here to discuss POLISH issues. If that's too much for you to handle, just waddle away... pretty please!!!!

prostak said...

Penguin,
sorry dude, but you're so far off the mark the FAA are sending out warnings to pilots in the area. It's totally erroneous to even begin to compare corruption in Poland and the UK. While I'm not going to argue it doesn't exist here (the UK) - look at the ongoing cash-for-peerages scandal that threatens to implicate half the current government - it takes place in a very different way to that in Poland. Capitalism, in all its forms, invites corruption and bribery at some level; but people in the UK are genuinely shocked when you tell them about the ease of getting out of a speeding fine in Poland. It just doesn't happen like that here.
The problem is, just how ingrained it is in Poland. My friends in Silesia warn me against visiting doctors without taking a bribe along, the 50zł backhander to the traffic cop is perfectly normal if you've got an almost fully endorsed licence, but in some way everyone knows it's kinda wrong. Travelling with friends through Wielkopolska, we got pulled over and a bribe was offered, but the cop got incredibly edgy when he overheard my friend talking to me in English - the panic spreading across his face when he thought a foreigner may witness his corruption first hand was plain. Perhaps he feared for his job, perhaps he worried about a time when he couldn't supplement his income thusly, I don't know for sure. But he knew it wasn't normal practice in my eyes.

Also, major reasons for the awful UNESCO ranking included the amount of kids on drugs + booze here and the terrible situation when it comes to open spaces and playing fields. Nothing to do with healthcare, as we can see from the number of people who come here to partake of the renowned, respected and envied UK health system (See, that's what beat was talking about ;) ).

guest said...

"So stop bullshiting, get real, and let’s have political pressure put on this government to stop spending soooo much energy on routing out collaborators and END THE POST COMMUNIST CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN POLAND."

Beatroot, no offence, but you sound here like the third duck-brother. They already created the CBA, didn't they? And they have spectacular cases revealed to public, right?

Corruption, post communist, or pre communist or however you call it, is not the only and not the biggest problem this nation has.

I agree with you in one thing though, polish corruption is a part of culture. And to get rid of it one will have to change the culture. Not impossible, but highly improbable on our lifetime.

And expect there will be a lot of resistance - mostly from common people. Personnaly, I am against bribing doctors but ... I like the opportunity to pay 50 zloty to the hand insteat of 300 for the speeding ticket. I know and the policeman knows that when I pay the penalty the money is spent by fat polititians for f***g single mothers desperate for job and giving high paid state jobs to their mates and installing heating under their walkways. And whey the policeman gets money to the hand - he brings it to his family. Tough reality.

beatroot said...

Guest
Beatroot, no offence, but you sound here like the third duck-brother.

Shurly shome mishtake! What I said was, this government seems to spend half its working day thinking up new ways to ‘get’ the collaborators. I think they should spend more time tackling real problems that affect Poles in a concrete way today – like corruption. But they don’t, they just make rhetorical noises about it and then go back to issuing reports about spies etc.

So it was a criticism of the government, Guest, certainly not an endorsement. But I think it’s pretty sad that you should think that going after anti-social criminals who give and take medical bribes is a sign of ‘duckism’…its not. Bribery in the medical services kills! Literally. Sling them all in jail (or hang them from lamp posts with jannovank’s environmentally friendly hemp rope!)

Michael Farris said...

Corruption is a normal human activity. That said, the _kinds_ of corruption that exist and attitudes toward it differ a lot by society.

I don't think discussions of the particular kinds of corruption found in Poland can be productive without taking into account some other issues and making some distinctions at the outset.

There's a difference between corruption that's meant to take advantage of other people and 'corruption' that exists to ameliorate the effects of unreasonable rules and regulations (of which there are many in Poland for lots of non-communist related reasons). Laws in Poland are mostly poorly written with little or no thought given to questions like consistency or common sense or unintended consequences. When problems with the rules are made known, the traditional Polish response is usually to blink a lot in terms of enforcement, complain about people who don't follow the rules and writing up new poorly conceived and badly worded laws.

There are almost always two ways of solving problems in Poland, public and private. Each has a different rules of procedures and in the latter case informal but very important rules of engagement which do not necessarily involve money changing hands.

This particular case stinks of publicity hunting by the CBA, an answer desperately looking for questions.

Poland has three medical systems, public, private and grey. Some doctors live entirely from the private system but surviving on pay from public system is not possible and thus the grey system is born and paid for by those who can't afford the private system and don't want to settle for what they can get in the public system.
That's not going to change unless public healthcare providers start being paid significantly more.

Michael Farris said...

My current answer to Freud's famous question "What do these ducks want?"

The ducks want to undermine as many of the foundations of civil society as possible (Jarosław has publicly spoken on how much he disdains the very idea).
Much like the communists, they want Poles to distrust each other on the individual level and in terms of interest groups which are pitted against each other as frequently and as much as possible (city vs country, young vs old, educated vs working class).

In the middle of this turbulent sea of all against all, two beacons shine out by which people are supposed to navigate, the church and the party which becomes the arbiter for as many social interactions as possible.

beatroot said...

You are right about being two types of corruption – and medical corruption comes under ‘social crimes’ which harm other people. Pay to jump the waiting list and you derectly affect the person you are jumping over. That is a crime and it goes on all the time. Let’s not beat about the bush (duck) here.

By the way, the UNESCO ranking thing is based on subjective criteria…any measure that compared Poland and the UK would find that Britain is a much more developed society, with better health care and everything else. The UNESCO thing shows, however, that British culture has become more and more miserablist and cannot see how lucky it is, in many respects. If British kids had a chance to look at conditions for kids in many parts of Poland they would cheer up about their own situation rather quickly.

Michael Farris said...

On the other hand, a citizen of the US or UK (or any rich western country) who shows up for public healthcare is liable to be pushed to the head of the line and get better care than the lumpen proletariat.
Is that corruption? Do you drill your public healthcare physician to make sure you haven't been taken ahead of people who've been waiting longer?

beatroot said...

Mike  I think there is a some confusion here. For a start the US public health ‘system’ (snigger) is nothing like European models – in fact, the NHS in Britain is designed to be the very antithesis of the US model…

So, I don’t know what is going in US hospitals – it all sounds very odd to us – but the middle class do not go to the front of the queue in Britain.

And we don’t have ‘lumpen proletariat’ in Britain anyway.

A very odd comment, Mike.

opamp said...

I like the opportunity to pay 50 zloty to the hand insteat of 300 for the speeding ticket.

Well, did it ever occur to you that the cop would pull you over for speeding (when you weren't) and demand a bribe? Because it did happen to me (not in Poland though). And this is what your "opportunity" leads to.

Poland has three medical systems, public, private and grey. Some doctors live entirely from the private system

A typical doctor works in a state hospital (so the hospital covers his trade union fees and social security) and in a private system to earn actual money. So, if a required treatment would be too expensive (or impossible) in a private system, the doctor transfers the patient to his state hospital and pays special attention to him. You get the picture.

As a result, the private system does the relatively well paid cheap procedures (flu treatment), while the expensive ones (heart transplants) are done in the state hospitals. So, no wonder that the state hospitals have financial problems and pay the doctors badly.

geez said...

BR: If British kids had a chance to look at conditions for kids in many parts of Poland they would cheer up about their own situation rather quickly.
___

Maybe, vice-versa, too.

How the pluck can you compare kids from different classes?

And there's big rural-urban differentiation, even more so pronounced in Poland.

Then, too: "If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you 'ave any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"

Never figured I'd like being a kid in unjolly ol' England after hearing those Brick in the Wall lyrics.

But lastly, do I hear Poles complaining about "welfare mothers?" in the refrain: "I know and the policeman knows that when I pay the penalty the money is spent by fat polititians for f***g single mothers desperate for job." But giving money to a hardworking (yea, sure) policeman is alright coz it goes to his family.

Looks like another sickness of Polish society (individuals, too) to me.

Welfare Mothers Lyrics
by Neil Young

People, pick up
on what I'm puttin' down now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Down at every
Laundromat in town now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

While they're washin'
you can hear this sound now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Divorcee!

Hard to believe
that love is free now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Out on the street
with the whole family now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Hard to believe
that love is free now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Divorcee!

People, pick up
on what I'm puttin' down now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Down in every
Laundromat in town now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

While they're washin'
you can hear this sound now

Welfare mothers
make better lovers

Divorcee!

geez said...

Michael, I found this interesting but will appreciate it if you could expound on it a bit more:

"In the middle of this turbulent sea of all against all, two beacons shine out by which people are supposed to navigate, the church and the party which becomes the arbiter for as many social interactions as possible."

Specifically about the conjunture vis-a-vis the Church and the PiS.

Michael Farris said...

"A very odd comment, Mike."

My apologies, I thought it was clear in context, let's try again:

"On the other hand, a citizen of the US or UK (or any rich western country) who shows up in a Polish public healthcare institution is liable to be pushed to the head of the line and get better care than the lumpen proletariat.
Is that corruption? Do you drill your Polish public healthcare physician to make sure you haven't been taken ahead of people who've been waiting longer?"

beatroot said...

"On the other hand, a citizen of the US or UK (or any rich western country) who shows up in a Polish public healthcare institution is liable to be pushed to the head of the line and get better care than the lumpen proletariat.

Ah, I see. I didn't know that. Not the same at my doctirs, alas. But the next time I go I will quote you and demand my rightful place at the head of the queue...

Malcolm said...

as a uk citizen living in poland i certainly havent been pushed ahead of any queue , i was shocked when my wife took a jar of coffee once for the doctor , GP's in uk are free you get 5mins of their time and even if you have appointment expect to wait. GP's are exactly that 'general' i like the fact here you can go to the doc who only does backs , another throats , being british it freaks me out not having to make an appointment .... but thats me. i spoke to wife about this posting and her reply 'thats nothing' where a society has massive divide in fortunes , will always breed corruption of one way or another. try going to indonesia or any of those countries its 10 times worse.

sorry digressed yes it is shocking about bribery , at least i know as soon as i open my mouth i will get charged double , if a member of my family was ill and i could speed up treatment by paying for it , sorry yes i would. if i had a choice of a polish hospital or uk , not a 2nd thought i'd be on 1st flight.

if someone kills another through greed , like the switching off of the life support , then thats murder.
you cant judge someone willing to bribe in the same context as someone who takes/expects a bribe.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Malcolm I don’t think you understand something.

if a member of my family was ill and i could speed up treatment by paying for it , sorry yes i would.

If that was victimless crime (and if you did offer a bribe to a doctor in Poland you would be breaking the law) then I could understand it – but if you pay for a member of your family to jump the queue then you are depriving someone else who needs treatment as much as your family member. So by bribing you are doing harm to someone else. It is not a victimless crime.

My girlfriend got cancer three years ago – a lot of treatment, as I am sure you can imagine, and a very traumatic time. But you know what? She didn’t bribe anyone once, nor was she asked to.

So do not even be tempted to bribe doctors, Malcolm – you simply do not need to. Leave the bribing to the anti-social shitbags.

Malcolm said...

suitably chastised.... being of scottish culture i find it hard to tip never mind bribe!!
regards

guest said...

" opamp said...
Well, did it ever occur to you that the cop would pull you over for speeding (when you weren't) and demand a bribe? Because it did happen to me (not in Poland though). And this is what your "opportunity" leads to."

Opamp,
if you yet reading this, -never happened to me in Poland.
However, two times similar thing happend. Once - in the middle of Warsaw, I turned right with a green arrow on and cops pulled me and demanded to pay penalty (not bribe!), saying I turned on a red light. Guess what? Simply denying to do that worked well. If you are sure that you did right, and policemen know it, they will not usually insist on you paying them. I guess, if you do not admit breaking the law, the case has to go court - and there its their word (lie) against your word (truth).
Another time - last year and also in Warsaw they pulled me in the middle of the night - I was on foreign registration and one of my back stop lights was off. I said I did not know it was off (which was not true, but they couldn't prove it), they said openly I should bribe them or they have to detain me (trying to bullshit me being foreigner). And guess what? Talking to them for 10 minuted does the thing: you want to detain me for something that small? - be my guest; you say I can not drive like that? - ok, I stay right here and sleep in the car; and so on.

I find always the same result - if you are right and you know it, the police in Poland (at least regular one) will not insist on a bribe. And here, being foreigner actually helps - as for corrupting them (you are very unlikely first provoke them and then complain) as for avoiding bullshit (usually they do not want to have any of the unnessesary mess after with the court and possibly your embassy).

Actually the powerlessness of the regular police in Poland is a separate subject in itself.


"But I think it’s pretty sad that you should think that going after anti-social criminals who give and take medical bribes is a sign of ‘duckism’…its not. Bribery in the medical services kills! Literally. Sling them all in jail (or hang them from lamp posts with jannovank’s environmentally friendly hemp rope!)"

Beatroot,
If you really mean what you wright - go live to Belarus - I recommend Brest - nice town only 190 km. from Warsaw.
There - the penalties are much higher and sentences are much longer for corruption. As well as regular officials are much more reluctant to accept a bribe.

It is in exactly this attitude, that you have a duck-like thinking: "if they are antisocial (antiLaw or antiJustice) - kill them!"
The corruption in public healthcare system of Poland is the direct result of poverty of the society. (Re-read the post of Michael Farris on three healthcare systems in Poland - he laid it out very well there.) And this is the problem you should be tackling first to fight corrution, which, in this case, is a direct consequence of the poverty.

By locking in jail those few doctors who yet work for public healthcare here you will deprive regular poles of any chance to get any decent (and cheap - I've heard from the my colleague that in the villages they bribe in nature - checkens, ducks) healthcare service. In that your original article, the guy who made transplant is one of how many (100? 10? for 40.000.000 population!) doctors able to do that in Poland? And did he do that for a bribe? Now they are saying he took all of 10.000 (yes, ten thousand) zlots in bribes for 10 heart replacements he's done.
I really think what these guys - all this poultry farm - should do is to let him free and raise his official salary 10 times at least (how much Lech increased his secretariat spending this year - it wouldn't be enough?). All he is at the moment - an example of Polish National Shame.

And one last thing, you are from GB, the "first world" rigth? So, for you nothing would change if, as a result of war on corruption of the rulling caolition and professional immigration, there became less public helthcare options for regular Poles? As you can probably live here better than average even for the UK unemployment money (pure speculation on my side here, sorry if I am wrong)... And, besides, where the doctors from here emigrate to? Ah, to the UK... What a surprise!

That explains the point of view.

beatroot said...

Guest
I really think you have a problem. Just because I think it is a crime to bribe doctors (because it harms poorer and more honest members of society, I get accused of ‘duck-like’ thinking.

Bullshit.

Instead of your perpectual state of denial (I wonder why?) I think we should be spending much more time looking for political solutions to this. In the mean time, CHOP OFF BRIBERS BOLLOCKS!

polishpenguin said...

Beat,

"I think we should be spending much more time looking for political solutions to this"


I honestly don't think political solutions would work, when the government itself in Poland has scandals and whatnot. The only time bribing is going to stop is when the people of the country take action. And what action that is, I have no idea.

beatroot said...

Doctors have to be given more respect and then they would not be open to this kind of crap.

It’s about how Poland funds and runs its health service. They have got to increase funds into it (and pay doctors a wage that reflects expertise) and at the same time trying to reduce taxation (which all parties want to).

The only way out of that is through a high growth economy that was bringing more taxes.

Those kind of issues are only going to be solved by political means.

And of course there has to be a nationwide attempt to make bribing doctors socially unacceptable, in the same way as drink/driving is becoming here.

That way we protect the weakest (those who can't afford to bribe) and give them equal chance of health care.

geez said...

PP wrote: "And what action that is, I have no idea."

--> How about voting and even working for the election politicians who aren't complete and utter turds? Yes, they all have a certain stench, but some stenches are much, much worse than others.

guest said...

"Just because I think it is a crime to bribe doctors I get accused of ‘duck-like’ thinking."

Beatroot,

Misunderstanding.

I respect your strong feelings on the subject, I just do not agree with solutions you suggest. Thinking similar to that of the President/PM is appealing to public opinion, but in terms of effectiveness it is, at best, useless.

In my opinion, the easiest first political step to end corruption in Poland would be to pass a law in Seim prohibiting those accused by court of any corruption to work for the state in any position (as an official, as a cleaner, as a director of a company where state is a major shareholder, etc. etc.) as well as to recieve benifits from the state (what they call here renta).
That would be both fair to all the members of the society here and would not inherit any open conflict of interest. What I mean is it would be relatively easy to start as (not nesseserily official) public initiative. That law would collups the chances of leagal employment for officials thus reducing motivation to take bribes.



As to your suggestion :
"{It’s about how Poland funds and runs its health service.}...
The only way out of that is through a high growth economy that was bringing more taxes."

I do not agree again.

Poland has f**d up structure of the society - 45% of population eligible to vote support another 55%, who do not work for a number of reasons. Out of those 45%: 40% - working class and 5% entrepreneurs - the real engine of the oconomy (responsible for paying 80% of all taxes). In other words, it is in the interest of 55% of population to exploit (tax) at maximum the 45% of those working.
And this is what polititians (representing the interests of those "parasites of the society") here are doing and will continue to do in the nearest future.
With the social structure like that any economy growth will not translate to more clever public spending.

Again, in my opinion, what Poland needs is a good and healthy economic crisis, which will crash its public finances and change local culture in a way that working will start to be considered GOOD and not working - BAD. (Highly unlikely, as in case of trouble they can milk the EU.)


Think about this: if in the USA the rules of the game (of the society) are defined by the national idea of the "self made man", then in Poland by "załatwimy, dostaniemy odszkodowanie".


As to my "perpectual state of denial" - thats because I have a lot of personal problems ;)

polishpenguin said...

Guest,

"45% of population eligible to vote support another 55%, who do not work for a number of reasons."

They don't work because they want to sit in their homes, not work, and collect tons of money. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. All these people leave Poland and go to England to find a better way of living, but all I see is them sleeping on the streets because they can't get a job due to language barriers. There's plenty of jobs for them back home I'm sure, but they always want more and more.

Beat,

"Doctors have to be given more respect and then they would not be open to this kind of crap. "

I agree wholeheartedly. They makes just as much, if not less, then a regular worker in a factory. That doesn't seem right. And on the flip side, doctors will look to make more money, hence accepting bribes. Pay them more, and I think the problem eases quite a bit.

guest said...

"They don't work because they want to sit in their homes, not work, and collect tons of money."

penguin,

This one is the easiest to resolve. A friend told me that the reason why in Belarus official unemployment's so low is because after you register and stay one month without a job, a state gives you one. Usually the most simple and low paid - like cleaning the streets full time. If you refuse (or start and after some weeks drop it) - you loose the unemployment money. Would work nicely in Poland.

geez said...

guest wrote: "if in the USA the rules of the game (of the society) are defined by the national idea of the "self made man"
________________
Hey guest... the streets here inda goodle us of a are paved with gold, too.

Europejczyk said...

Let us go back to "culture." Poland, indeed, has a century long tradition of bribery, corruption, and cheating. Please don't blame everything on the Soviets, Nazi occupation, and the Partition Powers. Everybody who studied Polish history knows how kings were elected in the decades before (!) the partitions - the szlachta voted for the candidate who offered most. Those who don't believe this may find proof (and a lot of details) in the relevant chapter of Norman Davies' "God's Playground" (Boze igrzysko, in Polish). There has also been a whole school of Polish historians who put the major blame for Poland's catastrophe at the end of the 18th century - that lead to the partitions - on the corruptness of her ruling class.

Corrupt behavior, however, does not begin in the doctor's office. The young Pole learns it at school. Cheating is so common (sorry, I know it very well, since my wife is a teacher and we have a lot of friends from all kinds of schools, up to universities) that high school students look with an expression of utmost astonishment at someone who tells them that there are universities in the U.S., where a student caught cheating will not only get fired, but also will be reported to the police. Not only the Web is full of cheating aids for students ("sciagi") - it was the reason why my wife learned browsing the Web - you can buy them in printed form (for written tests) in bookstores and newsstands. It is quite common to download one's homework from the Web and to have essays for the matura presentation written by "professionals." Teachers, as a rule, "overlook" their students' cheating. First, they don't want to have discussions with their students, second, they are evaluated according to the grades their students achieve. So the young Pole grews up in a culture where cheating is not only socially acceptable, but where a student who does not cheat is considered an outsider. Add the bad examples of adult family members, e.g. at the doctor's office, and don't be surprised any more.

Beatroot, you're right that bribing - and let me add: cheating - should be socially as unacceptable as drink driving. How about trying to begin at the beginning, at school?

beatroot said...

Yeah, you are right about teaching them young. That's what shocked me when I turned up at Warsaaw Uni...cheating...open and unapologetic....resistence to the Soviets blah blah...

Unfortunatly, western schools are now full of plagiarists...so it's spreading.

varske said...

I haven't read all the comments about doctors in the UK, but I think someone should point out that the government bribes the doctors, so we don't have to. It bribes them with high salaries, allowing them to do private work and leaving consultants (senior hospital doctors) completely outside any financial controls. In a any disagreement about the NHS, the doctors always get their way. There is thus no need for them to expect bribes. However for nurses and other health workers who are exploited, it is a wonder they don't take bribes with their low salaries.

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jannovak said: "the deeply ingrained mentality of giving and accepting bribes is based on how people had to get by when normal society didn’t exist as was the case during the nazis occupation and later the communist period. It will take a long time to reverse this mentality but with a combination of education and a bit of heavy-handed law enforcement it can be minimized." … so until we rollout that perfect blend of reeducation and strong police response and give it some time to set in for…what’s fair? 2-3 years?.. 5yrs?.. how ‘bout 10 years, … yeah.. 10 years should be enough ;) , we should probably cut those guys a break… right? After all they are the victims – it’s all because those nasty commies and the nazis … I like how you bootstrap your case with historical facts of your choice. Unfortunately (for Poland) the culture of bribery is part of Poland’s historical heritage. It contributed to a number of national disasters long before the commies and the Nazis entered the stage. Remember the partitions? Jan, you can’t blame all social problem on the occupation and the communists. I’m not passing a judgment – just trying to recognize that Polish national psyche is as complicated as it gets.

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