October 1, 2022

German doctor falsified documents in “transplant corruption” scandal

Shortly after a new law encouraging organ donation came into effect, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newpaper in Munich revealed that one of the country’s leading surgeons had been accused of systematically falsifying documentation to bump his patients up the waiting list.

It could not have happened at a worse time for organ transplant medicine in Germany. Shortly after a new law encouraging organ donation came into effect, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newpaper in Munich revealed that one of the country’s leading surgeons had been accused of systematically falsifying documentation to bump his patients up the waiting list.

Police have launched a criminal investigation into the work of the unnamed surgeon at Göttingen University Hospital. It is alleged that in at least 25 cases, he falsified records to make patients seem sicker than they really were. The most common method, apparently, was to  to declare that a patient with liver disease also had kidney problems. 

The Süddeutsche Zeitung has called this one of the worst cases of transplant corruption in German history. It is not known whether any deserving patients died because of the rigged system.

The fraud came undone when it emerged that the surgeon had transplanted a liver to Russian citizen who was not eligible because Russia is not a member of the eight-country Eurotransplant system. An investigation showed that the surgeon had forged some of the documentation.

This is the second time that the surgeon had been accused of manipulating the system. Seven years ago, at a hospital in Regensburg, a Eurotransplant liver ended up in a Jordanian patient. However, the doctor insisted at the time that it had been a mistake and charges were dropped. ~ BMJ, July 24; Irish Times, Jul 21

Michael Cook
Creative commons
corruption
Germany
transplant surgery