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'Speeding' emergency doctor can drive again

Sabine Devins · 9 Feb 2015, 15:27

Published: 09 Feb 2015 15:27 GMT+01:00

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The attorney-general in Munich had fined Dr. Alexander Hatz €4,500 and suspended his driving privileges after another motorist reported him for driving dangerously, but upon review, decided to drop the charges all together.

"We have dropped all fines and bans," a spokesman for the attorney general told The Local.

Hatz had filed an appeal in the case after he was reported for 'reckless driving' on his way to an emergency call in a town nine minutes away in April 2014.

A mother had reported her two-year-old dughter couldn't breathe. It turned out that the young patient had swallowed super glue. 

Hatz, a 23-year veteran of his profession, hurried the 11 kilometres to the woman's home, putting his car's siren on and flashing the emergency lights.

"On average, I drove 85km/h" Hatz told Bild newspaper. "The drive was like any other. I passed some cars, and I flashed others so they could let my drive by."

But someone was not happy with the doctor's actions and reported him for dangerous driving, leading to a massive fee and the suspension of his driving licence, which would have also put his job as an on-call emergency doctor in jeopardy.

"If this punishment goes forward, my professional life is at risk," he told the Augsburger Allgemeine last week.  

Hatz's case sparked widespread outrage in Germany, which led to a man nanmed Florian Jonitz setting up a petition at openpetition.de to advocate for Hatz's pardon.

"In driving school, one learns that one has to make room when a service vehicle comes along with sirens and emergency lights," Jonitz wrote.

"Support this petition so that all emergency vehicles who behave properly are not punished by someone else who has shown no consideration or has forgotten the rules."

The petition gathered more than 206,000 signatures in the four days since it was posted.

Story continues below…

However, the attorney general spokesman said the public support had little to do Monday's decision.

"We re-examined the case and saw there was no reason for there to have been any kind of punishment for the doctor's actions," The Local was told.

"I am thrilled – this is a wonderful success," Hatz's lawyer Florian Engelt told the Augsburger Allgemeine on Monday. "From the beginning I said that the punishment stood on shaky ground and always argued as such."

His patient, the now three-year-old Magdalena, is fine, thanks to Hatz's help, her mother told Bild.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sabine Devins (sabine.devins@thelocal.com)

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