Professor Jalid Sehouli is director of the Clinic for Gynaecology at Berlin’s Virchow Campus, part of the Charité Hospital. He was in his office when the two men attacked him late on Tuesday afternoon, inflicting serious injuries including broken bones.
Initial inquiries focused on whether there might be a link with an incident at the Charité in which a newborn baby died of a bacterial infection caused by hygiene problems.
But this was quickly ruled out and on Wednesday Berlin newspapers were reporting police were working on the premise that the men were relatives of a patient at the gynaecology clinic.
The Tagesspiegel newspaper said a police spokesman said Sehouli himself had identified the men as relatives of a woman whose treatment they had opposed.
“Whether perpetrators and victim knew each other remains unclear,” a police spokesman said.
Charité manager Karl Max Einhäupl said on Tuesday evening he was horrified by the attack. Mario Czaja, the Berlin state health senator said: “I am most deeply shocked by this incident.”
Police are examining video footage from cameras around the hospital. The colleague who tried to stop the attack was hit and injured on the hand, the Berliner Zeitung reported.
It was also reported on Wednesday that the body of the baby who died earlier this month after a bacterial infection had gone missing.
A spokesman for Berlin's state prosecutor admitted the body was missing after being asked for the results of a post-mortem examination. "The body is not there," he said, but would not make further comment.
The prosecutor has initiated a criminal investigation into possible manslaughter due to neglect.