It took a week for the director of Berlin’s Charité hospital to be told about the allegations against the nursing assistant, and he admitted on Wednesday that the man had been accused of touching children inappropriately in the past.
The girl, who has not been named, arrived at the Charité children’s emergency department late last Tuesday night with an “acute illness”, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.
She was given sedatives and the nursing assistant supervised her getting undressed, which was when he allegedly touched her genitals.
The girl told her father who alerted the doctor on duty and by the afternoon the man, who had worked at the hospital for nearly 40 years, had been suspended.
It was not until nearly a week later that the hospital director Karl Max Einhäupl found out what had happened. “We have a communication problem,” he admitted at the Wednesday evening press conference.
He also said that the man had been linked to three other incidents of indecent behaviour against children at the hospital. They are thought to have taken place around five years ago. He has been working in children’s emergency department since 2008.
An investigation has been launched to see if there have been other victims. The hospital said it would be setting up a hotline for those with information or questions and Einhäupl said staff would be contacting parents of children treated recently in the department.
Berlin’s state senator for science Sandra Scheeres, who is politically responsible for the Charité, told the Tagesspiegel that “we need all the facts on the table and I want to know who knew what and what decisions were made.” She said she could not understand why the man had been able to continue working with children after the first allegations.
This is not the first time that the Charité has made the headlines in the past few months. In October a newborn baby died after several were infected with faecal bacteria – although it was later said that the cause of death was not the infection.
Shortly after this, two men came into the oncology department and badly beat a doctor with wooden planks, seemingly in connection with his treatment of a woman.