A group of doctors in Romania was accused of removing hundreds of medical implants from dead bodies to use them on live patients, causing great risk to their health, prosecutors said.

As a criminal investigation was underway, prosecutors said Saturday one of the accused doctors acted as the ringleader and oversaw four other medical professionals as part of the scheme that ran for about seven years.

The main doctor, who was employed at a hospital in the eastern Romanian city of Iasi, acted as a supervisor, while the four others were responsible for extracting and providing the cardiac implants from dead patients, Reuters reported.

The implants were extracted without prior permission from the patients or consent from their families, prosecutors noted.

The unidentified lead practitioner was accused of performing 238 surgeries since 2017, and using the implants from dead patients over the course of seven years.

Not only was the origin of the implants used for live patients unknown, but the doctor also allegedly made his patients undergo unnecessary implants and put them at risk of serious health complications and even death, according to NY Daily News.

"A large part of the implants recommended by the doctor…were not necessary and were prompted by fake diagnoses or by previously prescribed medication that would trigger specific symptoms," the statement reportedly said.

The doctor, who was overseeing the other four physicians, was arrested and taken into custody on charges of abuse of power and taking bribes, prosecutors added.

The healthcare system in Romania is reportedly underfunded and underdeveloped when compared to other countries of the European Union.

Corruption and poor staff retention are some of the many problems affecting the country's healthcare system. Hospitals also reportedly continue running and treating patients despite their failure to meet quality standards and safety regulations, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In an unrelated incident, a doctor was arrested after giving laughing gas and alcohol to two patients and then sexually assaulting them in Florida. Dr. Eric Salata was arrested in 2022 for giving the patients, aged 51 and 72, tequila and laughing gas before their scheduled cosmetic procedures at his clinic. Salata then allegedly raped the two women. He was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual battery to a physically helpless person.

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