"Fake doctor" arrested in Germany after four patient deaths

"Fake doctor" arrested in Germany after four patient deaths

A woman posing as a doctor in the central German state of Hesse has been arrested on suspicion of causing four deaths through the improper use of anaesthesia. 

Falsified anaesthetist qualifications - 4 people dead

Prosecutors and police in Hesse are investigating the case of a 48-year-old woman who allegedly falsified documents when applying for a job as an assistant anaesthetist at a hospital in Fritzlar, northern Hesse. 

The “fake doctor” stands accused of causing the deaths of four patients and inflicting medical injuries on a further eight patients through botched anaesthesias. She is also suspected of making other mistakes, including failing to recognise patients’ breathing difficulties and administering incorrect medicines during operations. 

Prosecutors said that altogether the woman is being investigated on five different charges, including manslaughter, assault, document forgery, fraud and abuse of position.

Suspect’s house and hospital raided

Although the doctor worked at the clinic in question between 2015 and 2017, her lack of proper medical licensing only came to light in January this year. Initially, prosecutors working on the case said that there was no evidence that anyone had been harmed. 

Last Tuesday, however, police raided the suspect’s home and the hospital, confiscating a number of files including old work rotas. They said they were seeking "further dossiers" in which “the woman played a role”. She has remained in custody ever since. 

Lack of central database complicates background checks 

The suspect’s supervisors are also reportedly being investigated, to examine whether they were negligent in allowing her to continue treating patients despite repeated failings. 

Commenting on the case, the German Foundation for Patient Protection criticised Germany’s lack of a central database of doctors’ licences. They said that it was all too easy for people posing as doctors to hide their lack of proper qualifications because the federal republic has 17 regional doctors’ chambers, making it difficult for organisations in the healthcare system to run precautionary background checks. 

According to Germany’s DPA news agency, since 2014 Hesse’s LKA investigative police agency has responded to 12 similar cases. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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