Comparison: 5,000 euros instead of a new heart

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Clinic and patient agree on a dispute over the waiting list for a heart transplant

Lack of knowledge of German as a reason for refusing to put a patient on the waiting list for a heart transplant? Anyone who believes that medical aspects alone play a role in the registration for a heart transplant should, at least in the current comparison, which has now been concluded between the Heart and Diabetes Center (HDZ) in Bad Oeynhausen and a 62-year-old refugee from Iraq be thoughtful for a moment.

The victim will be granted 5,000 euros because he was originally not included on the waiting list for a heart transplant due to the lack of knowledge of German. The HDZ had justified the rejection with the guidelines of the German Medical Association, in which serious communication problems are named as a possible reason for rejection.

The reasoning in the "Guideline of the Federal Medical Association for Waiting List Management and Organ Mediation for Heart and Lung Transplantation" is based on the fact that in the event of a lack of language skills, compliance or the involvement of patients in pre- and post-treatment is not guaranteed. The patient, who had been living in Germany for 13 years, had defended himself against his rejection by legal means and had initially fought for legal aid before the Federal Constitutional Court in order to tackle the partial discriminatory approach he considered to be on the waiting list after this partial success. A claim for damages of 10,000 euros against the HDZ was in the room. Now the two parties have reached an agreement before the district court in Bielefeld, which provides for the payment of 5,000 euros. The patient is now on the waiting list for a heart transplant at the University Clinic in Münster. However, the court has not made a decision on the guidelines of the German Medical Association in general, so that comparable cases can still be expected in the future. The HDZ lawyer, Wolfgang Gansweid, told the press that the comparison was by no means an admission of guilt, but should only avoid a long-term process with an uncertain outcome.

Discrimination in the allocation of waiting list places The guideline of the German Medical Association for the allocation of waiting list places has been criticized in the past, because on the one hand "formally the directives authorization of the German Medical Association" was questioned and on the other hand an incompatibility with the prohibition of discrimination of Art. 3 Para. 3 in The Basic Law is criticized, the Federal Constitutional Court explained in its judgment on the legal aid application for the patient concerned. Eugen Brysch from the German Foundation for Patient Protection added to the news agency "dpa" that it was "about rules that are so non-transparent that you as a donor ask yourself: Can that be correct?" Patient protection. However, this does not change with the comparison now made at the Bielefeld District Court. Because no decision has been taken on the legality of the directive.

Missing fundamental decision on the guidelines of the Federal Medical Association So far, a judicial decision on the "Guideline of the Federal Medical Association for the maintenance of waiting lists and organ placement for heart and lung transplantation" or the rejection of patients due to lack of language skills, criticized judge Wolfgang Drees at the start of the process. Obtaining such a judgment would, however, take years. Time that most sufferers do not have - apart from the fact that some costs may also be associated with such a process. In the current case, plaintiff Hassan Rashow-Hussein said through his lawyer that he simply lacked the strength to work towards such a decision. The lawyer said that "it was a major blow to us that we had to fight for legal aid alone for three and a half years." After the HDZ had doubled the court's proposed settlement amount from EUR 2,500 to EUR 5,000, the 62-year-old therefore accepted the settlement. However, the situation remains unclear for all other patients with a lack of knowledge of German who are hoping for a transplant. (fp)

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