> Hey, all you death penalty opponents - any comments?
> I say: death penalty is a solution; after all, the possibility of a
> judicial error is a small price to pay for the ability to fry the nazi
> Three Neo-Nazis Face
> Murder Charges
before we can deal with the Nazi scum, we have to get rid of doctors like this:
Women Denied Heart Transplant
By BURT HERMAN, Associated Press Writer
BERLIN (AP) - A German hospital drew harsh criticism Tuesday for admitting it denied a heart transplant to a Turkish resident because she didn't speak German.
The Heart and Diabetes Center of North Rhine-Westphalia said denying the transplant for 56-year-old Fatma Elaldi was standard procedure when a patient is unable to understand a doctor's instructions or communicate with hospital staff after the complicated surgery.
Still, the issue touches a nerve in Germany, coping with a wave of anti-foreigner violence and always sensitive about how it deals with its 2 million Turks, the largest minority group in the country.
The clinic's decision was criticized by other medical groups in Germany and government officials, as well as Turkish community groups.
``The arguments of the clinic don't convince me,'' said Safter Cinar, a board member of the Turkish Council of Berlin and Brandenburg. ``I don't want to say racist, but it's a problematic thing. Medicine has the obligation to care for the health of the people and this cannot depend on German knowledge.''
Elaldi, who has lived in the western city of Neuwied for 21 years, has suffered heart trouble since birth and received a pacemaker last year. At the time, doctors told her she wouldn't be able to survive long without a new heart. After five days of examination at the clinic this year, specialists planned to place her on the transplant waiting list.
But in February she was notified by letter that she wasn't a candidate, citing her ``lack of knowledge of the language'' as one of the main reasons.
Her daughter, Bektas, who speaks German and had offered to serve as a translator, called the decision ``insanity.''
Elaldi eventually was placed on a waiting list for a transplant at a Muenster hospital, according to Dr. Yasar Bilgin, chairman of the Turkish-German Medical Foundation. He also said language knowledge wasn't a reason to deny a transplant - citing German patients who go to the United States for operations without speaking English.
A spokeswoman for the medical center in the town of Bad Oeynhausen, Petra Mellwig, stood by the decision Tuesday - saying the hospital has found that 50 percent of its patients without sufficient language knowledge die soon after transplants. She said two other hospitals in Germany also refused to operate on her.
Mellwig stressed the doctors' decision had nothing to do with Elaldi being a foreigner. She said drug or alcohol addicts are also turned down as transplant candidates for the few available organs because they are seen as risk cases in complying with medical instructions.
She said the offer from Elaldi's daughter to translate wasn't enough. ``Are they there 24 hours a day caring for the patient?'' she asked.
But the hospital later said that, in light of the ``public discussion,'' it would review its criteria to see whether ``possibilities can be found in similar cases that would lead to an improvement in the chances of success.''
About 500 hearts are available each year for transplants in Germany, but the demand is for more than twice that. About 20 percent of patients on waiting lists die before they are able to receive the transplant.
The health minister in North Rhine-Westphalia, Birgit Fischer, called Monday on the clinic to seek more practical solutions for the problem rather than denying operations - such as using relatives to translate or Turkish-speaking doctors.
``Every person has the right to adequate medical care. And we as doctors have the duty to help,'' Alfred Moehrle, president of the Hesse state doctors' association, said Tuesday.