Doctor in court over organ donor fraud scandal as transplant centres across Germany placed under criminal investigation

Prosecutors charged that he had changed data on the files of at least 25 patients to push them up the transplant list

In a case expected to shed light on a major Europe-wide organ donation scandal, a 46-year-old doctor went on trial in Germany charged with 11 counts of attempted manslaughter and systematically falsifying hospital data to procure speedy transplants for his patients.

The unnamed doctor, who headed the transplant unit at Göttingen university hospital until last year, appeared in court on Monday. Prosecutors charged that he had changed data on the files of at least 25 patients to push them up the transplant list.

They said the false information supplied to Eurotransplant, the body responsible for allocating donated organs, procured speedy transplants for the doctor’s patients but caused the deaths of other needier patients on the transplant list..

The doctor was accused of attempted manslaughter in 11 cases and of causing grievous bodily harm resulting in death in the case of two other patients. However no evidence of bribery was found.

Defence lawyers rejected the charges outright yesterday and dismissed as “absurd” prosecutors’ demands that he should be suspended from carrying out medical duties.

The scandal prompted the German Medical Association to conduct a joint investigation of the country’s 24 transplant hospitals. They uncovered several other cases in which patients had been given organ transplants for no justifiable reason. Some who received transplants were suffering from advanced cancer.

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