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German doctor cleared of transplant scandal charges

A German doctor has been found not guilty in an organ transplant case. The prosecution had attempted to prove that the doctor's manipulation of organ donor priority lists constituted manslaughter.

A court in the German city of Göttingen ruled on Wednesday that Aiman O. was not guilty of charges of manslaughter and three counts of causing grievous bodily harm that led to death. Prosecutors had been calling for an eight-year sentence and a ban on the doctor from ever practicing again.

Aiman O., the former lead transplant surgeon at Göttingen's University Hospital, was accused of falsifying the medical records of his patients before submitting them to the European organ procurement agency Eurotransplant, making their need seem more urgent than it actually was, in an effort to shorten their waits for donated organs.

Prosecutor Hildegard Wolff had argued that this led to O.'s patients receiving organs more quickly than 11 others who were in greater need. This, she said, amounted to 11 counts of attempted manslaughter, as O.'s deliberate actions led them to wait longer for donations.

In three other instances, the prosecution sought to prove that three liver transplants O. had performed were not medically necessary and that the patients were not sufficiently informed of the risks. The three patients eventually died, which brought about the charges of causing grievous bodily harm leading to death.

The judge in Göttingen ruled that criminal allegations against the doctor had not been proved.

After the scandal first made headlines in mid-2012, organ donations in Germany dropped significantly.

In January, the German Organ Transplantation Foundation (DSO) issued a press release in which it said the number of transplants in Germany had stabilized in 2014 after dropping by almost 13 percent in 2012 and more than 16 percent in 2013.

mz/kms (dpa, AFP)


Editor's note: Deutsche Welle is bound by German law and the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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