Germany: Mass donor organ fraud alleged

Organ transplant centers across Germany are facing criminal investigation for allegedly flouting regulations in order to give certain patients priority access to transplants. The German medical council said doctors had been manipulating records to move their patients up on waiting lists, according to media reports from Berlin

The fraud, which was first uncovered in the summer of 2012 and has since grown in scale, has shattered Germans' confidence in the transplant system and set off a decline in organ donations, according to the German foundation for organ transplantation (DSO). The DSO said that post-death donations have dropped significantly since the scandal broke.

The fraud involves at least four clinics across Germany, according to a Guardian news report, including one clinic in Munich where doctors mixed patients' blood samples with urine to make their cases a higher priority, since urine in the blood indicates organ failure.

Experts are blaming the fraud on a competitive clinic environment in which both personal and institutional reputations rely on high numbers of transplants, according to the Guardian.

German medical authorities are calling for an overhaul of the transplant system and investigating all 47 transplant centers in Germany. The international group Eurotransplant, which controls the allocation of organs in parts of Europe, has tightened application procedures, according to media reports.