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Criminal law and the medical profession

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Criminal law as it affects the medical profession not only concerns much more than only whether doctors are guilty of bodily harm as a result, for example, of a failure to comply with their duty to inform. Euthanasia is also difficult to define and is consequently a subject which often causes family members considerable anxiety. It must be determined whether action taken is legally permitted. Families need to be supported throughout the process. On the other hand, in doubtful cases uncertainty must not be allowed to result in a charge of manslaughter. Both parties may be represented in different cases in this area.

The provisions of the Medical Products Act (Arzneimittelgesetz, AMG) and the Narcotics Act (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, BtMG) include criminal and civil law penalties which may be relevant for doctors and medical practice.

Economic crimes in this area may arise from the submission of false claims. Doctors’ criminal liability does not cease when treatment has been completed. Invoicing errors or irregularities may also lead to criminal charges or to claims for compensation being made by health insurance funds.

A doctor’s professional living may be threatened if his or her license to practice medicine is withdrawn or a charge for medical services is cancelled. In exceptional cases fees may have to be refunded.  Expert counsel and support is available in this practice area.

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