• Germany's news in English

Organ donor law starts as interest flatlines

The Local · 1 Nov 2012, 11:04

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

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.

Story continues below…

“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)

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
Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd