After the scandal surrounding numerous hepatitis infections in patients at the hospital in Donauwörth in northern Swabia, an anesthesiologist is on trial as of today (9:00 a.m.). The physician, born in 1962, is said to have infected at least 51 patients with hepatitis C during operations in 2017 and 2018. The Augsburg Regional Court is planning twelve days of hearings, and there could be a judgment in mid-July (Az. 200 Js 137689/18).
The case became known almost five years ago and led to extensive investigations. Initially, the health department only assumed four to five cases. Ultimately, more than 1,700 men and women treated by the suspected doctor at the community clinic were asked by the agency to be tested for hepatitis C.
The accused anesthetist worked in the hospital for a total of around ten years. According to the indictment, because of a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, he had diverted opiates that were actually intended for the patients during the surgery for years and administered them himself in order to remain able to work. The man is said to have violated the hygiene rules and thus transmitted his own hepatitis C infections to the patients. The public prosecutor assumes that the doctor himself knew nothing about his infection.
The indictment accuses the anesthesiologist of dangerous bodily harm, embezzlement of medication and use of defective medicines. The defense attorneys did not comment on the request.
Hepatitis C is a disease that often goes undetected due to a lack of symptoms, but can also have serious long-term consequences. According to the German Liver Aid, the infection heals on its own in 20 to 50 percent of cases within six months. In the other cases, the liver inflammation becomes chronic. After 20 to 30 years, some people could develop cirrhosis and liver cancer. "However, thanks to new drugs, hepatitis C can almost always be cured today," emphasizes the self-help association.