Clinic scandal: doctor sentenced to four years in prison

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Clinic scandal: doctor sentenced to four years in prison

Today, the verdict was made in one of the most comprehensive hospital scandals in Germany. The chief doctor of the St. Antonius Hospital in Wegberg was sentenced to four years in prison. The doctor was accused of using lemon juice for the disinfection of wounds and performing unnecessary and unnecessary operations.

After the chief physician of the clinic in Wegberg, Arnold P., had admitted several deaths and a number of other injuries and treatment errors to the Mönchengladbach district court at the beginning of March, the final verdict in the proceedings followed today. In return for a confession, the court agreed to limit the prison sentence to a maximum of four years. As the owner and chief physician of St. Antonius Hospital, Arnold P. had allegedly misused his position of power to maximize profits at the expense of the patient. In his closing speech, however, the accused only spoke of personal overload as the cause of the terrifying events.

Doctor commits physical injury with fatal consequences
At the beginning of the trial, the public prosecutor's office had accused the chief doctor of the Wegberger clinic of seven deaths and over 60 cases of physical injury as a result of incorrect treatment. The 54-year-old doctor put the patient's life at risk through improper treatment and unnecessary surgery. Arnold P. was sentenced to four years imprisonment for two deaths, two negligent killings and 21 cases of assault. In addition, the convict must pay 30,000 euros to the surviving dependents of the deceased patient. Without a confession, the process, which had previously taken one and a half years, would probably have dragged on considerably longer, so that the parties had agreed to a clear acceptance of the sentence in return for a confession. Arnold P. took this off at the beginning of March, but the former chief physician at the Wegberger Clinic apparently did not want to admit to seeking profit as the cause of his misconduct. "I overdid myself," said the 54-year-old defendant in his closing statement today. Arnold P. was also the owner, chief physician, medical director and surgeon of St. Antonius Hospital.

Profit interests as the cause of medical misconduct? But in particular with the unnecessary operation and the willful refusal to involve experts and the disinfection with lemon juice, the public prosecutor still believes that there is a pronounced interest in profit behind the misconduct of the doctor instead of an overload. Already in the original indictment it was said that chief physician Arnold P. performed superfluous bowel surgery purely for the purpose of maximizing profit and removed the gallbladder, appendix, kidney or pectoral skin unnecessarily from patients. However, it was extremely difficult to prove the case in the course of the proceedings, so that the public prosecutor also agreed to reduce the sentence to a maximum of four years in return for a confession. In addition, the doctor, whose license to practice in St. Antonius Hospital was withdrawn in 2008 after the allegations became known, must not work as a doctor for four years because of the "chain of serious errors" he was responsible for. However, this is hardly acceptable for the co-plaintiffs concerned. The main consequence of the hospital scandal was that the doctor should never treat patients again.

Power position as clinic owner, chief physician and medical director abused In January 2006, Arnold P. bought the St. Antonius Hospital from the Wegberg community for a symbolic price and saved it from bankruptcy. After the first allegations became known in 2007, the Green Member of the State Parliament from North Rhine-Westphalia had Dr. Ruth Seidl determined that the unusual power of the clinic director as owner, chief physician and medical director had made such a scandal possible in the first place. The prosecution stated in their indictment that Arnold P. had subjected all departments to a "strict economy rule" after the takeover of the clinic and, for reasons of cost, ordered in numerous cases to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for wound disinfection instead of the expensive sterile solutions. Expensive treatments with antibiotics, heparin or blood supplies were also used very sparingly. In addition, the chief doctor ignored at least one living will and carried out numerous unnecessary operations.

Doctor denies profit motive as motive The defense insists, however, that Piers has "no evidence" for an "alleged austerity dictation" at the Wegberg clinic and the accused again emphasized that profit motive was not his motive. pointed out that he was overwhelmed by the takeover of the clinic in "unfortunate personal union (...) factually and temporally". His mandate was "not a criminal" and only wanted to "implement his thoroughly positive medical ideal," said the defender. In view of the admitted charges, an assessment of Arnold P.'s behavior, which was somewhat strange for process observers, because in his admission the former chief physician had confirmed not only the treatment of wounds with lemon juice, but also incorrect and unnecessary operations that were carried out without the patient's consent. In addition, the public prosecutor's office still appears to be questionable as to why an already overworked medical doctor refrains from consulting specialists and instead carries out the treatment himself, even though, for example, in the area of ​​microsurgery, not even the necessary instruments were available. (fp)

Also read:
Lemon juice case: BGH overrides chief physician judgment
Deadly errors in treatment by the chief doctor
Wegberger hospital scandal: chief doctor admits mistakes

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