Russia may lose god of eye surgery

The scandal with the dismissal of Khristo Takhchidi, acting director of "Eye Microsurgery" - Russia's top eye clinic - is gathering pace. Officials with the Healthcare Ministry say that the surgeon did not enjoy respect either among patients or other doctors. It was also said that the director of the clinic was preoccupied with attracting "non-profile" organizations on the territory of his eye surgery center. A correspondent of Newsinfo contacted one of the former patients of Mr. Takhchidi to find out if Russia's Minister for Healthcare, Ms. Golikova, made the right decision to sack the eye surgeon.

According to officials, Takhchidi's eye center has turned into the hotbed of corruption. Supposedly, clients could not count on high-quality services if they did not bribe the doctors of the clinic.

"Taking into consideration the predominance of paid services which were provided to patients instead of free services, which they were supposed to receive, one may conclude that it goes about the double funding for providing one and the same medical services at the expense of patients, insurance companies and the budget," the message from the ministry said.

According to the ministry, after the death of legendary eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fyodorov, his center of eye microsurgery developed too many commercial interests that took over the interests of patients and the development of science.

The new director of Russia's top eye clinic will most likely be a doubtful persona - deputy chairman of the healthcare committee of the State Duma, a member of the general council of United Russia party, Alexander Chukhraev. He is a doctor of medical sciences. He used to serve as the head of the Kursk Regional Hospital, but he has not been performing any surgeries during the recent years. Chukhraev was doing his best to establish close contacts with the Healthcare Ministry and its chairwoman. Mr. Takhchidi preferred to spend his time worrying about more important things.

As many as 5,000 employees of the clinic stood up to support their boss. They say that they are ready to go on strike not to let the new director appear in the clinic. The message posted on the officials website of the clinic says that Takhchidi's dismissal would destroy the entire complex that retrieved eyesight for thousands of people.

Former patients were also very surprised about the decision to dismiss Khristo Takhchidi. Photographer Anna Baskakova was nearly blinded several years ago. She still thanks God for sending her to Dr. Takhchidi.

"He is a man with remarkable medical education. All patients and all employees of the clinic were treating him as their high priest because his operations were like divine services. I heard it myself a number of times when people could not hold their emotions after operations and scream - "I can see!!!" the woman said.

According to Anna, the ministry's claims to Takhchidi are purely political. "They claim that he was settling some other organizations on the territory of the clinic. But all the profit that came from those organizations was used to improve the level of services for patients. They feed patients there like in restaurants! I've never seen anything like this in any other hospital! When Svyatoslav Fyodorov was alive, there were practically no documents for the clinic. Fyodorov knew everyone in power. He would walk in those offices and officials would give him everything. The clinic didn't actually exist on paper. Takhchidi put all documentation in order," the former patient of "Eye Microsurgery" said.

Anna Baskakova is certain that Russia will lose a unique specialist if Mr. Takhchidi does not come back to his office.

"I am a photographer, so I never forget that I can see the world with the eyes that were given to me by Mr. Takhchidi and his doctors," she said.

Artyom Martynuk


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov