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Doctor jailed for removing organs while using lemon juice antiseptic

The Local · 28 Mar 2011, 15:46

Published: 28 Mar 2011 15:46 GMT+02:00

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In one of the more notorious medical scandals in recent years, the court pronounced the 54-year-old owner and head doctor of a private clinic guilty guilty on two counts of negligent homicide and 21 counts of bodily harm.

Arnold Pier, who confessed to his crimes after one-and-a-half years at trial, “removed organs that should not have been removed,” head Judge Lothar Beckers said.

He surgically removed appendixes, a gallbladder and a kidney without medical cause or permission from patients, the court said. In another case a woman died because he broke off treatment, while another was subjected to unnecessary chemotherapy.

Another incident involved a man who had accidentally sawed his thumbs off. Instead of immediately sending the patient to a specialist, Pier simply sewed his thumbs back on, an action an expert described for the court as “waiting on a wonder.”

The thumbs rotted and had to be amputated.

“How he imagined he could simply sew the thumbs back on is hard to grasp,” Beckers said.

A total of four patients did not survive his treatment, which the court said was akin to “flying blind.”

In 2006 Pier purchased the bankrupt Antonius Klinik in Wegberg for €25,000 with the intention of restructuring operations there. But Pier did not know his limits and overestimated his abilities, the court said, assuring victims and their families that chances he would ever practice medicine again were slim.

Without a confession the sentence would have been significantly longer, and Piers’ defender Egon Geis said he was satisfied with the verdict.

“We will not appeal,” he said.

Story continues below…

The court had acknowledged a belief that Piers had not acted out of malice, but had made mistakes in an attempt to help patients while he was overwhelmed. The defendant said that increasing profits had not motivated his errors.

He had been acting as owner, chief doctor, medical director and surgeon at once.

Authorities were tipped off by an anonymous clinic employee, and indictment actually charged Piers with seven deaths and 60 acts of bodily harm.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:54 March 28, 2011 by tallady
How long had this been going on. He purchased the clinic in 2006,so at least 5 years.I am surprised he was not reported before this.

The sentence of 4 years at a minimum facility is light but the 4 year suspension after the prison term is ridiculous .This person should never be allowed to practice medicine again.He demonstrated his incompetence and knowingly removed peoples organs with out permission,endangered his patients ect. What would qualify as a reason to suspend his license?

Lemon juice?
17:06 March 28, 2011 by nashville
Four year suspension?? Why would he EVER be allowed to practice medicine again?? The decisions he made were clearly not a result of being overworked or overwhelmed.....they were made out of absolute stupidity and apathy toward the health and wellness of his patients. I've barely passed first aid/cpr training, and yet even I know you can't just sew on a thumb or disinfect with lemon juice! Great justice for the victims....not.
17:06 March 28, 2011 by auniquecorn
Come on tallady,

it was only seven deaths and 60 acts of bodily harm.

Give the man a break.
17:22 March 28, 2011 by tallady
auniquecorn,,you are right..I am switching to decaf (:
19:36 March 28, 2011 by kalabooni
Someone said Mengele‏?
20:00 March 28, 2011 by Englishted
tallady why isn't it die caf, ?
22:39 March 28, 2011 by wenddiver
Who in their right mind would go to this Doctor??? I would think total loss of Medical liscence, Prison Time, Financial reparation and manditory Psychiatric care would be the absolute least this guy should pay.

I once went two days with a knife wound recieving no care except for a field dressing in Africa, rather than let the Soviet trained Doctors touch it. I have never regreted holding out for a US, British, German, Israeli or Canadian Doctor. Stories like this make you re-evaluate the oversight of a nations Doctors.
00:48 March 29, 2011 by bal00
taillady, you may want to check your math on this one.

He bought the hospital in early 2006 and was reported by one of his staff in late 2006. They didn't catch him last week.
09:20 March 29, 2011 by Krim
This doctor is a criminal as any criminal trying to make money illegally. We have a variety of criminals in this country and in all fields. Copy/paste a PhD and landing as minister , cheating in science like Dr Schön who was able to sell theoretical curves for experimental in 17 papers in science and nature and almost landed as MPI director in Stuttgart, the bank guy in Bavaria, the list is long of those are still acting.....
10:58 March 29, 2011 by moistvelvet
The four year ban is not surprising considering Germany allowed another doctor to continue practice medicine despite being found guilty and struck off in the UK for killing a patient through negligence... or was it incompetance?

To practice medicine, strange term that, I'd prefer to be treated by a doctor who was taking it seriously, not practicing :-p
14:38 March 29, 2011 by Altdude
So I take it that lemon juice is not antiseptic? Urine is! Perhaps he can review the literature during his sabbatical.
15:46 March 29, 2011 by fryintl
Amazing as it is, that is the price of Social MEdicine. People who are very good, go on to work in Private clinics around the world. I can't see how this guy will ever practice medicine again, adn only 4 years in Prison? I mean, really, either there is soemthing here we are not privvy to or, this system of Justice isn't worth a Darn.

He should be given the same treatment he gav his patients: take off his thumbs, remove his gall bladder, a couple of Kidneys (oh yeah he only ahs two) and maybe remove his heart...
16:17 March 29, 2011 by LavendarFlower
He must be one of the worst doctors in the world. Only 4 years in prison for murder and great bodily harm, with multiple victims? He *might* be able to practice medicine again someday? There is something very wrong with the justice system here.
17:13 March 29, 2011 by nashville
I knew someone would have to bring socialized medicine into it.

"People who are very good, go on to work in Private clinics around the world."

You mean like this guy?


You find sickos everywhere, in every profession and every country in the world. They are not limited by government, business nor their own conscience, unfortunately.
06:43 March 30, 2011 by parografik
Consider that he had been practicing medicine awhile before he bought the clinic, there probably is a trail that goes back even further. Did this behavior just start happening, or was he making these type of decisions all the way back to medical school? How did the doctor work this long when he was so quickly discovered in this new practice?

Someone else was not doing their job here, I suspect, and for a long time.
08:29 April 19, 2011 by PatricParamedic
To my German comrades -

As a doctor misbehavior investigator in the U.S., I find it depressing to see the same type of juvenile, mental midget shenanigans in Germany, albeit on a very small scale.

Here in America we average 10 doctor felony convictions every court day of the year - almost exaclt 2,500 "Guilty" verdicts. The crimes range from Murder to Fake Botox injections; from Drug-running, to Child Molestation hising Secret cameras to film naked patients. Sexual Assaults of patients and monstrous Medical Fraud is commonplace.

So as embarrassing as your Arnold Pier case is, you make take some measure of relief in knowing that - when it comes to "lab coat lunatics" your country is considerably more civilized than we are.

(for those interested, see the book, "America's Dumbest Doctors" for an accurate view of hilarity and fright)

Be safe.
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