BAQUBA — A nurse at Baquba General Hospital asked Ahmed Ali, who co-authored this report, for a bribe to look after his sick baby. It was hardly an exceptional demand. Patients around Iraq have begun commonly to speak of the need to bribe medical staff to get some form of care.
“Nurses in Iraqi hospitals are no angels of mercy,” Falah Najim, who was a patient at the main hospital in Baquba told IPS. “They look after their pockets, not the patient.”
The practice of bribing medical staff has been around since at least the 1990s, during the difficult days of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first Gulf War. After the U.S. invasion of 2003, this seems to have become worse, like so much else in Iraq.