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Prosecution demands jail term for transplant scandal surgeon

The prosecution in the trial of a German surgeon has called for him to be given a jail sentence for faking medical data to give his patients priority in receiving donated organs. The scandal led to a drop in donations.

Public Prosecutor Hildegard Wolff on Monday called on the regional court in Göttingen in northern Germany to sentence the

former lead transplant surgeon at the city's University Hospital

to eight years in jail and bar him for life from working in the field.

The prosecution argued that they had proved that the suspect, identified as 47-year-old Aiman. O., was guilty of three counts of causing grievous bodily harm leading to death, as well as attempted manslaughter in 11 further cases.

According to the prosecution, Aiman O. falsified medical records of his patients sent to the central European organ procurement agency Eurotransplant, making their need seem more urgent than is actually was, in an effort to shorten their waits for donated organs.

Among other things, the prosecution presented evidence that O. had manipulated the results of lab tests and failed to ensure that patients waiting for liver donations were abstaining from alcohol use. They also said that on a number of occasions he had stated that patients required dialysis, when they in fact did not.

Cutting the queue

Prosecutor Wolff told the court 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.

"He selected, he played god," Wolf said.

The three counts of causing grievous bodily harm leading to death stem from three liver transplants that O. conducted, which, the prosecution argued were not medically necessary, and were carried out with the patients having been sufficiently informed about the risks. All three patients subsequently died.

The defense is to present its final arguments on Wednesday and a verdict is expected early next month.

German organ donations down

Since the scandal first made the headlines in mid-2012,

the number of organ donations in Germany has dropped signifcantly.

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.

pfd/bw (AFP, dpa)

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