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Constitutional lawyer wants reform in organ allocation
After the recently announced organ donation scandal, demands are growing that comprehensive political reform should take place. Constitutional lawyers do not demand that the allocation of organs be left to the doctors alone. It must also be created for more transparency in the transplantation in Germany.
In an interview, the Cologne constitutional lawyer Wolfram Höfling warned against "only leaving the organization of the donor organs to the doctors." At the moment, it is like "a sick system". The readjustment of individual "little cogs is little gained", says the legal expert and member of the German Ethics Council. Höfling believes that the population's trust can no longer be established with the current system. But that trust is a "fundamental requirement for the willingness to donate organs".
State controls were largely avoided
Höfling reports to the "Berliner Zeitung" that the statutory regulations on organ donation "have largely dispensed with effective monitoring". The affected doctors and politicians would only have responded with defense against any publicly noticeable scandal. For this reason, it is a "great audacity" if, after the Göttingen and Regensburg incidents, the German Medical Association calls for more rights for controls.
According to the constitutional lawyer, there is a fundamental problem, because it is "a great self-deception to pretend that the criteria according to which organs are assigned are only about medical questions." After all, it would also be about how the donor organs, which are few and far between, are dealt with. "These are questions of justice and therefore decisions that the legislature has to make, not the doctors." With transplant medicine, it becomes clear that the debate is also about distributive justice in medicine imminent.
Ministry of Health currently sees no legislative proposals
The medical profession sees no major problems and also sees no manipulations that would take place regularly. Therefore, they reject more government controls. The Federal Ministry of Health agreed. A spokesman for the ministry said: There is currently no need for greater supervision by the state. It is not automatically an indication of manipulation if more and more donated organs are implanted in an accelerated process. "Every fourth heart, every third lung and almost every second pancreas is given directly from the clinic to a transplant center," said the ministry spokesman. The procedure is legitimate if there is no patient for the organ, if the donor is of older age or has previous illnesses. This method is intended to prevent the loss of the organ.
Critics argue, however, that doctors have enough options to devalue the organ in order to direct it, for example, to a paying patient. The Ministry of Health replied that the organ allocation does not go past the waiting list and that there are also "the guidelines of the German Medical Association".
Opposition calls for more government supervision
The Green Group leader in the German Bundestag, Renate Künast, considers the current regulations to be inadequate. Künast called on the federal government to install more state controls. In their opinion, strict and publicly accessible, accessible documentation of the cases is required. In addition, coordination should be improved and made transparent. In contrast, the Hessian Minister of Social Affairs Stefan Grüttner (CDU) warned against hasty legislative proposals. However, if it turns out that the mistakes can be countered with reforms, this issue should also be addressed.
Doctors reject state controls
Further state controls are rejected by the medical profession. The medical director of the Freiburg University Clinic, Dr. Jörg Rüdiger Siewert, an additional state commitment. Instead of government interference, medical committees and scientific societies should develop concepts that ensure greater transparency.
The chairman of the German Heart Center in Berlin, Dr. Roland Hetzer, considers manipulations on a larger scale to be excluded. Nevertheless, the doctor acknowledged gaps with regard to the Göttingen scandal and the current regulations. "If someone wants to cheat, they will unfortunately succeed".
Special meeting of the medical association
Meanwhile, the German Medical Association has invited to a special session for today (Thursday). For this purpose, the monitoring committee for organ transplantation was invited to Berlin. For example, the accelerated mediation process is on the agenda. The monitoring commissions work on behalf of the medical profession, clinics and health insurance companies. The Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) invited to a second meeting. Further steps should also be discussed here. (sb)
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