Parents blame doctors Protests in front of Cologne clinic after death of girl

Köln · Around 400 people demonstrated in front of a clinic in Cologne-Porz on Thursday. Following the death of a four-year-old girl, the parents blame the clinic doctors. Head of the clinic Sigurd Claus comments on the accusations.

On Thursday, demonstrators gathered in front of a hospital in Cologne-Porz and held up posters accusing doctors of murder. As the Cologne police confirmed upon request, 400 people were in front of the premises on Urbacher Weg.

The background to the demonstration: Around midnight on December 22, a couple from Bulgaria and their four-year-old daughter came to the emergency room of the clinic. There, an assistant pediatrician examined the girl. Since her condition was inconspicuous at the time, the doctor sent the child and her parents home with a recommendation to drink a lot. "There was no reason for an in-patient admission that evening," explained hospital director Sigurd Claus to the General-Anzeiger on Friday.

On December 25, around 6 pm, the family returned to the emergency room of the clinic. „Then, the child appeared to be sicker“, said Claus. The girl was referred to the paediatric emergency service of the resident doctors. A senior physician on call examined the child and ordered an intensive medical check-up. The four-year-old was admitted to the children's hospital on Amsterdamer Straße. The four-year-old died there the next day. According to a police spokesman, the parents now accuse the attending physicians on December 22 of a violation of the duty of care, because in their opinion they had not sufficiently examined the child.

"The doctor sent us home, said that our daughter had only a virus and we should give her ibuprofen," the father of the deceased child is quoted by the „Bild" newspaper. The girl's fever had already risen to 40 degrees. The four-year-old presumably died of pneumonia.

The parents now got about 400 family members and friends together, mostly from Bulgaria, in front of the clinic. Security forces and police officers secured the area of the hospital, only one entrance for rescue vehicles remained free. During the rally on Thursday, the head of the hospital briefly stepped outside the door of the hospital, but did not want to talk to the demonstrators because of the heated atmosphere and the „murderer“ calls. "When the situation has calmed down, the clinic wants to sit down with the parents. The rally was a very strange situation," Claus said.

According to the police, there were minor traffic disruptions during the incident, mainly due to parked vehicles of the demonstrators present.

In the meantime, the police have started investigations into the case of the dead four-year-old, as the parents have filed criminal charges. The treatment documents were made available to the police. An autopsy is to provide information about the girl's death. "No misconduct on the part of the assistant pediatrician can be ascertained from the documents", emphasised Claus, the head of the clinic.

(Original text: Nathalie Dreschke, Judith Nikula / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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