Organ donation scandal: Indictment against Göttingen doctor



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Doctor indicted for attempted manslaughter
22.06.2013

A transplant surgeon will soon have to answer in court in the Göttingen organ donation scandal. He is accused of attempted homicide in eleven cases, as well as assault and death in three other patients.

Lied consciously? The 46-year-old medical doctor, who has been in custody since January, is accused by the Braunschweig public prosecutor of being guilty of homicide in eleven cases and three cases of bodily harm and resulting in death during his three years at the University Hospital in Göttingen. In eleven cases, the Göttingen doctor is said to have deliberately lied when reporting patient data to the central donor agency, Eurotransplant, in order to ensure that his patients move up the waiting list for donor organs.

According to the prosecutor's office, a donor organ was assigned to them within a very short period of time, which was then transplanted. Since there is a lack of organ donation in Germany, according to prosecutors, it can be assumed that "due to the false information provided by the accused, other patients who were more life-threatening than those reported by the accused did not receive a donor organ and may therefore die" The doctor accepted it with approval. Since it cannot be ascertained which patients may have died as a result of his actions, he is attempted and no accused of manslaughter.

Ignored abstinence from alcohol ignored The indictment also says that five of the patients had been registered for Eurotransplant, even though the six-month abstinence from alcohol prescribed by the German Medical Association had not been observed. In addition, false blood values ​​were reported in three of these cases. The Göttingen transplant center, which was headed by the defendant at the time, is said to have been assigned organs in an accelerated procedure, so that in three cases patients could be implanted with livers. In spite of the fact that he knew that this would not result in any health benefits, he would have carried out the transplants, despite the fact that there were risks for the patients. The patients were not informed about this and therefore their consent to the operation was ineffective. According to the public prosecutor, this means that the interventions constitute bodily harm. The three patients all died after the transplants.

At least three years imprisonment The surgeon may face imprisonment not less than three years if convicted. According to a justice spokeswoman, the imposition of a professional ban could also be considered. The prosecutor also said that the suspicion of bribery and organ trafficking had not been confirmed. The public prosecutor severed the investigation against four other doctors from the University of Göttingen, who are accused of involvement in the manipulations. Anonymous information about two years ago had drawn attention to the scandal. The doctor will have to answer for himself before the jury in Göttingen. The process is not yet scheduled, but is expected to take place in autumn. In addition to the cases now accused, according to the spokeswoman for the authority, there are 28 further suspected cases, which were initially suspended.

Willingness to donate organs decreased due to scandal After the organ donation scandal became public, the willingness to donate organs decreased rapidly in Germany. For example, almost 50 percent last October. The situation is precarious for the approximately 12,000 patients who are currently waiting for a donor organ. Because three people die every day while waiting for a donor organ. Against this background, it is to be hoped that the new regulation of organ donation will be successful. The statutory health insurance companies were obliged to check the readiness for organ donation of their insured persons every two years. (ad)

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