Kidney doctor prescribed unnecessary dialysis

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Did an Aurichi kidney doctor prescribe unnecessary dialysis?

Patients had complained to their health insurance about the treatment of a kidney doctor from Aurich. Then the public prosecutor's office targeted the doctor. He is said to have prescribed dialysis therapy in numerous patient cases, although this was completely unnecessary from a medical point of view. For a few months now, the doctor has not been able to treat patients from the statutory health insurance companies.

The allegations weigh heavily: Has an Aurich kidney specialist prescribed mass dialysis treatments, even though there was no need for them at all? According to its own statements, the public prosecutor's office is investigating the nephrologist based on "suspected serious bodily harm and fraud in at least 42 patient cases." According to the investigative authority, the doctor had treated every third patient incorrectly. The majority of the injured are said to be older people. According to the spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office, Annette Hüfner, "the investigation has been underway since October 2011". However, it is unclear when and whether an indictment against the doctor is ever raised.

Patients complained about the doctor
Patients had complained anonymously about the doctor to the General Local Health Insurance Fund (AOK) and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVN). In the origin, it was a routine check, as a spokesman for the KVN said. Usually, practices that offer dialysis for 100 to 150 patients must have at least two kidney specialists and an internist. In the city of Aurich, two of the three doctors had stopped working last autumn. One of them was the former owner of the practice, the spokesman said. He had worked with the doctor in question for years. In summer 2011 he handed over the practice.

Routine review found incorrect treatments
In the course of six months, the remaining doctor was unable to find two new doctors. As a result, the KVN called in the "Quality Commission" department to carry out a check. In the course of this check, when reviewing the patient data, it was noticed that the main problem was not the insufficient number of general practitioners, but many treatments were wrong. In addition, there are apparently also hygienic defects, according to the KVN.

Bodily harm due to incorrect treatment
"Dialysis is an intervention in physical integrity", explains Prof. Jan Galle, spokesman for the German Society for Nephrology. Before dialysis can be initiated, a catheter must be placed. Many of the patients have to undergo serious surgery. If patients undergo blood washing, although there is no sufficient indication for this, those affected can suffer damage to the organs. After about two dialyses there is an additional physical dependency.

During the review, the experts discovered such massive deficiencies that the KVN, after confirmation by the State Social Court, closed the practice. Many patients "fell from all clouds" when they heard about it. Accordingly, the doctor initially lost his health insurance license and can only treat privately.

Such a practice cannot be run without health insurance patients, which is why the premises are about to be sold. But the closure of the practice isn't the only blow to the kidney doctor. According to its own statements, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs checks "whether the doctor's license is basically withdrawn". Prof. Galle emphasized that "it is an absolutely individual case". If patients are unsure, they should get a second opinion from another kidney specialist.

Dialysis is a difficult intervention in the organism
Blood wash patients if they suffer from severe kidney damage. Dialysis is used to purify the blood, because the kidney is no longer functioning properly and urea can no longer be excreted. If those affected did not undergo dialysis, they would poison themselves from the inside. In blood washing, the blood is washed over a membrane, on one side there is blood and the plasma and on the other side a dialysis solution. This process removes water and toxic substances from the patient. Severe drops in blood pressure may occur during treatment. Fatigue, feelings of numbness and headache often occur.

The procedure is very expensive because patients have to come to the practice three times a week and blood cleaning takes about five hours. Most patients are over 60 years old. In many cases, kidney failure results from the progression of type II diabetes. (sb)

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