• Germany edition
 
Organ donor law starts as interest flatlines
Photo: DPA

Organ donor law starts as interest flatlines

Published: 01 Nov 2012 11:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Nov 2012 11:04 GMT+01:00

New rules to encourage people to donate their organs take effect on Thursday, yet interest has been stagnant since the start of the year – and two scandals surrounding the corrupt allocation of donated organs will not have helped.

The new law means that everyone in the country will regularly be asked by their health insurer whether they want to be organ donors after their death. Although people will not be forced to answer, it is hoped many who have not considered the idea before will be encouraged to sign up.

Currently around 12,000 people are waiting for an organ in Germany, with hundreds dying each year while waiting.

The concept of fairness, with those in the most urgent medical need being put at the top of the waiting list for organs, is crucial to the pan-European system of organ donation, but was dealt a couple of hefty blows this year by scandals at German hospitals.

A leading doctor working in Göttingen is under investigation after he was accused of systematically changing the medical records of his patients to make them appear sicker than they were - in order to bump them up the transplant waiting list.

It is thought at least 25 patients were pushed up the list unfairly – leaving others in need to wait for longer, and potentially dying while they waited. Another investigation was started last month after similar suspicions emerged at a Munich hospital.

These scandals apparently did nothing to increase the willingness of people to register to donate organs after their deaths.

“The willingness to donate has stagnated since the beginning of the year, sadly,” said Health Minister Daniel Bahr on Thursday. He said he absolutely rejected exerting any pressure on people to donate their organs.

The health insurers have until next November to write to their members asking whether they want to sign up.

Statutory insurer the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) is writing to its members now. “The reports of potential manipulation with organ distribution has understandably left many people unsure,” said TK head Jens Baas.

“Therefore we are of the opinion that they now need factual and unbiased information.”

Other insurers will be contacting their members next year. The Federal Centre for Health Education says around 74 percent of Germans are in favour of donating organs after their death in principle – but only 25 percent of people have a donor card.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:18 November 1, 2012 by Englishted
Still have no idea whether or not they will take English ones as they will not take my blood donations .
19:59 November 1, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Don't feel bad, they won't take mine either ... of course I got leukemia ... It is time for a serious debate here ... this is my body and these are my organs ... If I want to sell one ... or two, who and why do they have the right to tell me no, that a decision will be made who gets what ... If some poor sick person get's my organ, what makes the medical community think they can pay for it and maintain it to have a healthy life.
06:20 November 2, 2012 by BCSLAVE
They just take your organs here....
Today's headlines
Minister's jet grounded twice in a month
Foreign Minister Steinmeier reboards his plane after the delay. Photo: DPA

Minister's jet grounded twice in a month

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to wait for two hours on a runway on Wednesday night due to a technical glitch on his plane - the second problem the jet has had in a month. READ () »

German of the Week
'It's important people are confronted with cancer'
Photo: Marina Proksch-Park

'It's important people are confronted with cancer'

Images of children with cancer often evoke weakness and defeat. But Marina Proksch-Park shows them enjoying life. The photographer who has sparked an online campaign with her pictures is The Local's German of the Week. READ () »

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo
Yasar Calik. Photo: Facebook/Yasar Calik

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo

A Christian Democrat (CDU) town council candidate has apologized and withdrawn campaign bags on which he had printed a new party logo where the Turkish crescent appeared inside the "C" for Christian. READ () »

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand
Lufthansa's daughter company Germanwings is one of the faster-growing budget airlines in Germany. Photo: DPA

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand

Budget airlines are expanding their range of routes from Germany but ticket prices are climbing along with them, a report from the German Aeronautics Centre (DLR) revealed on Thursday. READ () »

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened
Bernie Ecclestone with his lawyers in a Munich court on Thursday morning. Photo: DPA

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail. READ () »

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'
Photo: DPA

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'

A revamped version of European student exchange programme Erasmus officially launched in Berlin on Thursday with Germany's education minister praising the scheme as a Europe-wide “success story”. READ () »

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid
Photo: DPA

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid

A German couple has lost their legal fight to get a refund for a Turkish holiday which they said was ruined by the calls to prayer from a nearby mosque. It is just one of a series of court claims by picky German tourists. READ () »

Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Russian troops surround a Ukrainian base in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies. READ () »

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Photo: DPA

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road. READ () »

Where are Germany's smartest towns?
Germany's cleverest town. Photo: DPA

Where are Germany's smartest towns?

A brain training website released scores on Wednesday showing which German towns performed best and worst in a range of cognitive tests - with some surprising results. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Photo: DPA
National
Girls find live ammunition in Easter bonfire
Photo: Facebook/screenshot
Berlin
Germany's most viral advert for an apartment?
Gallery
11 things you need to know about German beer
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

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

3,077
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd