Organ donations drop after corruption claims
Several organ transplant centres in Germany have reported that post-death donations sank drastically in the second half of 2012, following last summer's revelations about manipulation of waiting lists.
According to preliminary figures released by the German Organ Transplantation Foundation (DSO) on Monday, the number of donations dropped by 12.8 percent from 2011 to 2012.
In 2012, 3,508 organs were transplanted from some 1,046 donors, while in 2011 the figures were 1,200 donors and 3,917 organs. The DSO described the new development as "a dramatic low" that was comparable to the figures of 10 years ago. Since then the number of organ donations rose to a high point in 2007, only to sink again.
Last year, the German parliament amended the organ transplant law which meant that as of November everyone with health insurance over the age of 16 would receive a letter asking whether they would like to become an organ donor or not.
But the amendment was overshadowed by the summer's scandals, which revealed that some doctors alter their patients' documents to make them sicker than they really are to bump them up the waiting list.
It was also revealed last August that many donated organs are put in an "accelerated process" are put in an "accelerated process" so that a clinic can use them for their own patients, rather than pass them along to patient at another clinic who may be in greater need.
German Health Minister Daniel Bahr defended Germany's organ transplant system on Monday. "Germany has the strictest rules, so that organs can only be passed on exclusively for medical reasons," he told the Bild newspaper.
Frank Ulrich Montgomery, president of the German Medical Association, said last week that the reforms brought to the system since the scandals broke had been effective, and that waiting list manipulation had dropped drastically.