Investigation into Münster due to organ donation scandal

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Prosecutor's office investigates head of transplantation: Investigations in Münster over organ donation scandal

Now the public prosecutor's office in Münster is investigating manipulations in liver transplants. There is still only an initial suspicion and it is unclear whether there will be an indictment.

It is now known that the public prosecutor's office in Münster is also investigating manipulations in liver transplants. Attorney General Heribert Beck told the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) that there had been an initial suspicion that the investigation had to be initiated. The doctors may have done unnecessary dialysis just to make the patients appear as sick as possible. As the person in formal responsibility, the head of transplantation medicine in Münster is initially being investigated. Beck said, according to the SZ, that it would only take a few months to decide whether to bring charges against him or other doctors.

Indictment in Göttingen for deaths The report of the examination and monitoring commission of the 24 German liver transplant centers at the Federal Medical Association showed systematic violations of the guidelines at the University Hospital of Münster in early September. The public prosecutor had previously received an anonymous report in this regard. Prosecutors are also investigating in Regensburg, Leipzig and Munich. And the former head of transplant surgery is currently on trial in Göttingen. He is accused of attempted homicide in eleven cases, as well as assault and death in three other patients. He is said to have manipulated patient health data in such a way that a donor liver was allocated to them prematurely. Through these manipulations, they appeared sicker than they actually were and were thus moved up the waiting list of potential recipients. According to prosecutors, it can be assumed that "other patients who were more life-threatening than those reported by the accused did not receive a donor organ and may therefore have died."

Guidelines not adhered to in Münster According to the German Medical Association, the independent inspection committee of doctors, hospitals and health insurers had checked the medical files of a total of 1,180 patients who received donated livers in 2010 and 2011 after their death. According to the PÜK report, three alcoholic patients in Münster who had not been dry for the required six months received a donor liver in 2010 and 2011. In addition, in eight other cases, liver cancer patients were transplanted with a donor organ, although the guidelines were not followed. Further violations would have resulted from false information on the duty to dialysis. For example, doctors said they had done dialysis when it was not and some patients had been dialyzed even though there was no medical need for it.

Clinic denies allegations The fact that the dialysis on paper indicated that the patients appeared to be considerably sicker than they really were, since the need for blood washing meant that the patient was also suffering from kidney disease. This gives such patients an advantage on the waiting list and a donor organ is allocated more quickly. An employee of the clinic in Münster explained to the PÜK during the examination that, under certain circumstances, she always indicated dialysis when registering the patients for the waiting list, because only that would score points. The clinic denies the allegations and comments in a statement: "We strongly reject the statement that 'systematic violations of guidelines' occurred at the University Clinic in Münster." To deliberately violate regulations. ”The guidelines at the clinic were only interpreted differently and people thought that they would behave in accordance with the guidelines.

Donor numbers plummeting as a result of the scandals in Germany, the general secretary of the German Society for Urology (DGU), Professor Oliver Hakenberg, confirmed on Thursday in Dresden at the DGU annual conference. The organ donation had dropped by almost a quarter. Confidence in transplant medicine has been shaken overall. This is also fatal for kidney patients, Hakenberg explained, because there are currently around 8,500 patients who have to go through regular blood washing to wait for a kidney donation. Five percent of them are children. On Thursday, the Ethics Council also discussed the German organ distribution system. Some members are now required to change the transplant law. (ad)

Image: Lothar Wandtner /

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