Anesthetist must be detained for three and a half years

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Anesthetist has to go to prison for three and a half years. Outdated anesthetic equipment during dental treatment caused the death of a child.

A two-year-old child died after dental treatment in 2009 as a result of anesthesia. Today, at the district court in Halle, the verdict against the then responsible anesthetist was passed: three and a half years in prison without parole for the accused 53-year-old doctor.

The harrowing death of a two and a half year old boy had already occurred in January 2009. The boy refused to open his mouth for caries treatment during numerous dental appointments. So that the dental treatment could still be carried out, the mother made an appointment at another dentist's office. It was agreed that the treatment would take place under anesthesia. During the anesthesia, the little patient was exposed to a significant lack of oxygen. Due to outdated anesthetic equipment, the lack of oxygen apparently was not noticed by the doctor. The child died of the consequences two days later.

Outdated anesthesia machines Originally, the prosecutor's indictment was "negligent homicide". New charges have changed the charge of "bodily harm resulting in death". In the course of the court hearings, various experts were ordered to prove that the anesthetic equipment used no longer met the current standards. The prosecutor had accused the doctor of being responsible for the death of the two-year-old patient through "unsanitary behavior". The self-employed anesthetist was not a member of the doctor's office, but was specifically ordered to do it for dental treatment. For this reason, the attending dentist was not charged with the practice. Because the child's death was brought about by anesthesia.

The doctor's fault was proven
The court found it proven that the anesthetic equipment was out of date. The judges at the district court in Halle thus followed the charges brought by the public prosecutor's office and found the 53-year-old doctor from Zeitz in Saxony-Anhalt guilty of bodily harm resulting in death. As the prosecutor Klaus Wiechmann said in the plea, the defendant not only used the wrong anesthetic machine, but also failed to notice any medical warnings, such as blue lips.

The doctor's defense had asked for a "negligent homicide" conviction and a two-year suspended sentence. After the tragic incident, the doctor was "at the end" anyway. His license to practice medicine had already been withdrawn and his client was suffering from depression, as the lawyer said in the plea. In the closing statement, the accused said that he was "incredibly sorry" for everything. Mainly because it's about a child. This fact particularly shook him. (sb, Nov 17, 2010)

Also read:
Child dies after visiting dentist
Judgment against anesthetist postponed again

Photo credit: Michael Grabscheit /

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