Munich organ donor check reveals suspicions
An investigation into people waiting for donated livers being pushed up the waiting list has been launched at a Munich clinic following scandals in two other German hospitals.
Doctors at the Munich Klinik rechts der Isar hospital admitted over the weekend that four cases had been identified where patients had been made out to be more in need of a liver transplant than they were in order to bump them up the waiting list.
An investigation is looking into 163 cases of liver transplantation carried out at the Munich hospital between January 2007 and July 2012, Der Spiegel reported.
The magazine said the medical records of two patients had been changed to say that not only did they have liver disease, but were also receiving dialysis. This made them seem sicker than they were and pushed them up the European organ waiting list.
In two other cases, Reiner Gradinger, medical director of the hospital told the magazine, laboratory test results needed to be checked.
The hospital’s investigation report is due to be published this week – but Der Spiegel said the German Medical Association was checking other cases. One Munich doctors is said to have hidden the fact that his patient had advanced cancer as well as liver disease – so that despite the man’s poor condition, he received a liver transplant shortly before dying.
Medical Association president Frank-Ulrich compared the Munich situation with the cases in Göttingen and Regensburg where the suspicion is that doctors received payment for changing medical records to benefit certain patients.
Uwe Heemann, head of the transplant centre in Munich, said there was no evidence of criminal acts and said he was convinced the investigation would come to the same conclusion.
Several doctors were suspended in Göttingen and Regensburg after the public prosecutor said it would investigate more than 20 cases which could result in charges of negligent manslaughter due to those having been pushed down the waiting list dying.