Politicians and doctors under pressure after organ donation scandal

politicians and doctors under pressure after organ donation scandal

The german hospice foundation, a patients’ association, called on federal health minister daniel bahr (FDP) to intervene on friday. The latter called a crisis meeting for the end of august, other politicians demanded tough punishments, while the president of the federal chamber of physicians, frank ulrich montgomery, in turn accused government and justice in bavaria of failure. The transplant center eurotransplant in leiden, the netherlands, called for more controls.

Bahr wants to discuss consequences at a crisis meeting with representatives of all parties involved: "I expect proposals on how manipulations and other violations can be better prevented in the future." To the appointment on 27. On august, the association of health insurers, the german hospital association, the german foundation for organ transplantation, the foundation eurotransplant, the german transplantation society, the federal medical association, the standing commission on organ transplantation and the monitoring and review commission at the federal medical association have been invited to the meeting.

Meanwhile, the procedures in gottingen and regensburg are steaming up the willingness to donate organs. In five cases in the past two weeks in germany, patients had explicitly refused an organ removal with reference to this scandal, said the spokeswoman of the german foundation for organ transplantation (DSO), birgit blome, to the news agency dpa in frankfurt am main.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that the accused senior physician at the regensburg hospital was not a single perpetrator. But the public prosecutor’s office has no evidence for this. The examinations are still in the early stages, said markus pfaller of the public prosecutor’s office in regensburg. The "suddeutsche zeitung" had reported that the accused senior physician was probably not a lone perpetrator. "We cannot confirm this at this point in time". We cannot make any assumptions and speculations," pfaller told dpa.

Even after the departure of the now accused senior physician, the number of liver transplants in regensburg had risen dramatically. According to the hospital, the number increased by almost 50 percent within a year – from 52 transplants in 2008 to 76 in 2009. Last year, the number dropped again to 63. The hospital explained that the increase could be explained by an expansion of the liver transplantation program since 2003. In addition, the number of organs actually transplanted can also fluctuate due to personnel fluctuation and the availability of donor organs.

Bavarian authorities bear the brunt of the blame for physician president montgomery’s actions. On rbb-inforadio, he said: "in bavaria, it was the state bodies that failed, because we uncovered this case with the self-government at the time. We have spoken to the bavarian institutions. No one had the slightest interest in pursuing this case at the time," montgomery said.

Bavaria’s science minister wolfgang heubisch (FDP) rejected this: "since the suspicious cases now known were completely different, they were not investigated in the proceedings at the time."Justice minister beate merk (CSU) emphasized that the investigators had not found any concrete evidence.

According to hospital information, jordanian patients were forbidden to be included on the transplant list for european patients. In addition, a liver had been transplanted illegally in jordan. Chief public prosecutor wolfhard meindl had declared on thursday that the doctor’s behavior was not criminal. There had been no reason for further investigations.

Now the "doctor O."But the senior physician is suspected of having falsified medical records, first in regensburg and later at the university hospital in gottingen. He is said to have aggravated the disease on paper, so that the patients were implanted with a new liver more quickly – although others might have had them more urgently. The doctor, who has been suspended since november, denies the allegations, according to the gottingen clinic.

"Those responsible must be brought to justice with all the force of criminal law," declared the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group frank-walter steinmeier, who himself had donated a kidney to his wife. It must also be checked whether the transplant centers involved in illegal practices will have their licenses revoked.

In view of the scandal, the transplant center eurotransplant in leiden, the netherlands, demanded more controls. "Current experience shows that the current control system can be manipulated by deliberate false entries," the medical director of eurotransplant, axel rahmel, told dpa. Eurotransplant is an international foundation that provides donor organs to patients in seven european countries and also coordinates the allocation of organs to germany. The german foundation for organ transplantation also spoke out in favor of additional controls: "one must certainly draw the conclusion from this case that additional controls must be introduced," said the foundation’s medical director, professor gunter kirste.

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