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After a fatal hotel birth, an experienced doctor is sent to prison

After a fatal hotel birth, an experienced doctor is sent to prison



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BGH also evaluates behavior as manslaughter instead of negligent killing
(jur). A doctor and midwife who had held on to a "natural birth" in a hotel despite considerable complications had to go to prison for six years and nine months. With a decision announced on Friday, June 10, 2016, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe confirmed a corresponding ruling by the Dortmund Regional Court regarding “manslaughter by refraining from action” (file number: 4 StR 428/15).

Such a conviction for manslaughter is unusual. The now 62-year-old was regarded as an experienced doctor and midwife who accompanied births at home or in her practice. Here the doctor knew of the lack of oxygen in the embryo due to the complications and still held on to the "home birth" in the hotel. As a result, the threshold from “deliberate negligence” to “homicide through failure to do so” was exceeded, according to the regional court in its judgment, which has now been confirmed by the BGH.

For a "natural birth" despite the pelvic position, a German couple had traveled to Unna from Latvia. The contractions started there in the hotel in the early morning. Because the amniotic sac also burst, the couple could no longer come into practice. Nevertheless, the 62-year-old doctor only came to the hotel twelve hours after the contractions had started. There she found twice that the child's feces, the so-called child's pitch, came from the birth canal. The birth process came to a standstill.

Nevertheless, the now 62-year-old held on to a "home birth". It was only after a total of around 18 hours that the child named Greta was born and died immediately after birth. The evoked emergency doctor not only issued a death certificate, but also notified the police.

The relevant guidelines recommend birth in a clinic in the pelvic position so that a caesarean section can be performed quickly if necessary. The Dortmund Regional Court did not complain that the experienced doctor and midwife tried to give birth to a hotel in the hotel, but that she complied despite the complications and the obvious risks.

According to the opinion obtained from the court, the baby could have been born healthy by Caesarean section if the mother had been transferred to a hospital four hours before the birth. The child would have survived even an hour and a half earlier, but with permanent damage.

The long sentence of imprisonment is due to this justified assessment of homicide. The Dortmund district court also sentenced the doctor and midwife to a lifelong professional ban on October 1, 2014. She has to pay the parents a compensation for pain and suffering of 50,000 euros and also compensate for psychological damage and higher health insurance contributions.

With a decision of May 11, 2011, the BGH now dismissed the doctor's revision as unfounded, the Dortmund ruling is therefore final. mwo / fle

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