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News

German organ donor scandal spreads to Bavaria

Prosecutors in the German state of Bavaria are investigating fresh claims that over 20 liver transplants were manipulated in the city of Regensburg. It comes after similar cases came to light in northern Germany.

The 23 suspected cases of manipulation took place in the Regensburg's university hospital between 2004 and 2006, according to chief prosecutor Wolfhard Meindl.

"We have asked the hospital to give us a detailed description of their allegations," he said, after the clinic had pressed charges following an internal investigation.

The suspect, known as "Doctor O," is a senior medic, who has already been implicated in similar cases being investigated in the northern German city of Göttingen. He allegedly falsified documents relating to organ donations, first in Regensburg and later in Göttingen.

"Doctor O" allegedly manipulated patients' records, making their conditions sound worse than they were and thereby putting more urgent cases on the donor lists - at the expense of other patients who may have needed a liver more urgently.

He has been suspended since last November. He has denied wrongdoing.

Surgical director also suspended

On Thursday, Regensburg's director of surgery, Professor Hans J. Schlitt, was suspended with immediate effect, according to Bavaria's science minister, Wolfgang Heubisch, who said that Schlitt may have failed in supervising the suspect properly. He also asked all hospitals in the state to check their files for any inconsistencies.

"Doctor O" had been investigated before. In 2005, it became apparent that patients from Jordan had been put on a European waiting list and that a liver had been transplanted in Jordan. He was not convicted at the time.

ng/ipj (dpa, AFP, dapd)