A court in Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, heard on Wednesday the first of 522 charges from 70 patients of 43-year-old doctor Susanne C, Bild newspaper reported on Thursday.
They span from 2006 to 2010 when the woman allegedly injected patients suffering from allergies with cortisone without asking them. She claimed to be using herbal remedies.
The first civil suit came from a mother who took her eight-year-old son to the clinic, concerned about his eczema. Herself a doctor, she was surprised when her child's condition cleared up speedily and so ordered a blood test.
The results came back positive for cortisone, a steroid hormone sometimes used to treat allergies.
Cortisone can have serious side-effects, and an expert told the court that “giving it to children under the age of 12 without consent is a clear error in treatment”.
But Susanne C. told the court: “I only administered cortisone in select cases where it was medically necessary.”
Five cases were heard on Wednesday, including of two children aged 10 and five, who also are thought to have received a series of cortisone shots over a few months.
Four of these were promised payouts of over €2,500 each by the judge.
Other claimants are seeking payouts of at least €5,000, the Bild reported. But it could take the court until 2015 to hear all of the cases.