• Germany edition
 
Doctor 'cheated' to get patients on organ list
Photo: DPA

Doctor 'cheated' to get patients on organ list

Published: 20 Jul 2012 10:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jul 2012 10:51 GMT+02:00

A meeting of the German Transplantation Society (DGT) this week discussed what one top official said was the worst case of corruption he had ever heard of – it is thought at least 25 patients were pushed up the organ transplant lists.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday that although 25 liver transplantation cases from the Göttingen University Hospital are being examined, more files remain that have not yet been checked.

Hans Lilie, criminal law professor at Halle University, who chairs the standing commission on organ transplantation at the German Medical Association, told the paper that those at the meeting had been very emotional when they realized how many cases were suspect.

He had always been able to reassure potential donors and their families that the matter was always dealt with in a fair manner in Germany, he said. This would no longer be the case.

It is the worst case he had ever heard of, said Lilie.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said the trick was a simple one. Doctors would simply make the chosen patient look sicker on paper than they actually were. Those with liver problems were often given invented kidney problems as well, putting them – on paper – at greater risk, and thus bumping them up the donor organ waiting list.

Lilie said this would have created a longer wait for those patients who were already high up the list. Whether they got an organ in time, or whether some may have died as a result of having to wait for longer, would be subject to further investigations, he said.

It would be very difficult to prove such an allegation, said Axel Rahmel, medical director of Eurotransplant, the eight-country transplantation agency. He said the delay would also work its way down the waiting list. “It’s possible that the long waiting time did not affect patients from one to 14, but probably patient 15,” he told the paper.

The main suspect at Göttingen hospital is said to have manipulated patient files in several ways, but often left enough inconsistencies for this to be noticed on examination.

He is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Braunschweig state prosecutor for a number of suspected offences including corruption. Flats have already been raided and files seized.

Spokeswoman Serena Stamer told the paper that whether he deliberately manipulated files and if he took money illegally remained subjects for the investigation. The man in question has not commented and colleagues at the hospital do not know where he is.

Until he took over as head transplantation doctor at the hospital hardly any liver transplantations were carried out there – but he pushed the rate up to around 50 a year, which is a lot for Germany, the paper said.

Experts have ruled out the idea that he could have been alone in the corruption. “It is certain that it was not one person alone,” said Lilie. Initial investigations also suggest that money was paid by patients directly to doctors – to such a degree that in one case the commission made a formal complaint of organ trafficking.

The doctor was removed from his post as soon as suspicion was raised against him, the hospital said.

And Eurotransplant has introduced new rules which link a referring doctor’s name to his or her recommendation of a place on the organ waiting list.

Yet the Süddeutsche Zeitung also reported that the doctor concerned had got into trouble in 2005 while working at a Bavarian university hospital, when he took a Eurotransplant liver to a patient in Jordan – having said it was destined for a patient in Regensburg.

A criminal investigation against him was halted and after he promised not to do such a thing again, he was allowed to continue working – and got a promotion to the Göttingen hospital.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:15 July 20, 2012 by n230099
I worry more about the medical industry providing a level of care based on the value of the organs of the patient. When the value of the organs becomes such that the patient is worth more for the "parts" we're all in trouble.
14:24 July 20, 2012 by Frenchone
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:20 July 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
So what now? Take the organs back? I am sure this is not the only corruption happening in the overpriced German Health Industry. How much drugs do doctors subscribe needlessly in order to prop up the pharmaceutical industry? More money in sick people than people getting naturally healthy long-term.
20:50 July 20, 2012 by AlexUkr
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
'We're camping for six days outside Apple store'
Photo: The Local

'We're camping for six days outside Apple store'

Most holidaymakers on a week-long camping trip pitch up by lakes or next to the beach. But two Berliners are hoping to break a record by settling in for six days outside the city's Apple Store to be the first to get their hands on new iPhone 6. READ  

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths
The gates at the former concentration camp of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths

A 93-year old man from Lower Saxony will stand trial for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder at the Auschwitz death camp while a member of the Waffen-SS. READ  

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop
Photo: DPA

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop

An alleged CIA double agent secured his laptop so well that German secret services have failed to crack it since he was arrested in July, according to reports. READ  

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Some of the cast of Orange is the New Black at a photocall in Mexico. Photo: DPA

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)

UPDATE: TV streaming service Netflix opened its virtual doors in Germany on Tuesday in the face of stiff competition from existing players. Users will be able to watch shows in English too. READ  

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans
Ready to go again. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has announced that a planned strike at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday has been called off. READ  

One of these men will be Berlin's next mayor
Jan Stöß, Raed Saleh, Michael Müller Photo: DPA

One of these men will be Berlin's next mayor

Three men are hoping to become Berlin’s next mayor after Klaus Wowereit steps down in December. With nominations closing on Monday, The Local looks at the three politicians who want to lead the city. READ  

Hotels hike up prices six-fold for Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA

Hotels hike up prices six-fold for Oktoberfest

As an estimated six million people get ready to raise their glasses for the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, hotels are raising their prices by as much as six times their regular rates. READ  

Police pin down Lidl meat needle culprit
A CCTV of the suspect released by police. Photo: Lübeck Polizei

Police pin down Lidl meat needle culprit

A woman has come forward to admit hiding needles in packets of meat in discount supermarkets after CCTV images enabled police to pick up the thread of the investigation. READ  

Germany puts first 'Isis jihadist' on trial
Kreshnik Berisha in court in Frankfurt on Monday. Photo: DPA

Germany puts first 'Isis jihadist' on trial

UPDATE: An alleged German jihadist went on trial on Monday accused of fighting for the Islamic State in Syria group, amid calls for tougher action to prevent attacks in Europe by the militants. READ  

JobTalk Germany
'Three types of firms are hiring foreigners'
Photo: Shutterstock

'Three types of firms are hiring foreigners'

What kind of companies are hiring foreigners in Germany? And which type of firm should you target for your next career move? Recruitment expert Chris Pyak reveals all to JobTalk. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
National
Neo-Nazis are attacking newspaper offices
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Election night in Brandenburg and Thuringia
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany officially bans terror group Isis
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten German place names that make us giggle
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,264
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd