The trial of a Dutch neurologist suspected of causing dozens of patients serious bodily harm by deliberately offering wrong diagnoses and inappropriate cures is to focus on nine specific cases, the Public Prosecution Service announced on Friday evening.
The most serious charge facing the former neurologist is that of deliberately damaging the health of patients by causing severe bodily harm and possibly death. If found guilty, the neurologist could face up to nine years in jail.
The public prosecutor informed victims and relatives on Friday evening that the trial will centre on just nine out of the dozens of cases on the grounds that those are the most promising to secure a conviction and also representative of the crimes the doctor allegedly committed.
The trial is not likely to start until the end of this year, the Public Prosecutor added, because it was the biggest and most complex medical case ever tried by a Dutch court. All victims must also be examined to determine the extent of the psychological suffering they experienced as a result of the doctor’s treatment.
Many victims expressed dismay for not seeing their cases included in the trial. The neurologist currently resides abroad but is fully cooperating with the investigation, the public prosecutor said. He has also been charged with embezzlement, theft and forgery.
The neurologist worked at the hospital in Enschede, the Medisch Spectrum Twente, from the early 1990s until 2004, when he was fired for stealing narcotics. During that period he is alleged to have deliberately misdiagnosed patients as having serious illnesses such as Parkinson’s, MS and Alzheimer’s. The first complaints about his malpractice emerged in 2007.
A preliminary inquiry has also been launched into the hospital’s role in the matter, the Public Prosecutor said, but any charges will be brought at at later stage.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide