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Heart centre accused of fiddling transplant list

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Heart centre accused of fiddling transplant list
A donor heart gets delivered to the DHZB. Photo: DPA
09:17 CEST+02:00
UPDATE: The German Heart Institute of Berlin (DHZB) is under investigation for attempted manslaughter after evidence showed a doctor manipulated patient data to get them a new heart faster.

According to reports published Friday in the Berliner Zeitung and Der Tagesspiegel, 28 patients between 2010 and 2012 were prescribed higher doses of medication than they needed by a doctor, which made it appear that a new heart was more urgent than it was. The doctor suspected is currently suspended from his duties.

Berlin's health minister Mario Czaja is investigating. 

"These are difficult charges, which must be quickly cleared up," he told the Berliner Zeitung in a report published Thursday evening. He is currently waiting for a written report from the Medical Association, expected by the end of the month.  

"I have asked the DHZB to also report to me what actions have been taken so that further abuse doesn't happen," Czaja added.

The Berlin state senate is also looking to see if any patients died as a result of a heart going to a patient with falsified records, which could upgrade the charges. 

The DHZB came forward with the information itself, though has not made a public statement in regard to the scandal.

Last year, 4,500 procedures were performed by doctors through the DHZB, including 100 heart-lung transplants. 

Demand for organ donations in Germany is high. More than 10,700 patients are waiting for a transplant, but the number of donors is decreasing.

In 2012, an organ donation scandal came to light involving a doctor at Göttingen University Hospital. Aiman O. is currently on trial for manipulating patient information to get them also moved to more urgent status on the liver transplant list. He also stands charged with attempted manslaughter as patients sicker than his were forced to wait longer for donor livers. 

Last week, the German Organ Transplant Foundation (DFO) said that 2014 could be a record-low year for organ donation, after already seeing a 15-percent drop from 2013 to 2014. In a survey done by the DFO, 60 percent of respondents said they hesitated to be an organ donor for fear of abuse in the transplant system. 

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