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Surgeon who refused to operate on man with swastika tattoo should not be disciplined, says German Medical Association

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c7279 (Published 17 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7279
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

A surgeon in Germany who refused to operate on a man already anaesthetised because he noticed a swastika tattooed on the patient’s upper arm should not be reprimanded, Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe, head of the German Medical Association, has said.

After noticing the tattoo of an imperial eagle perched on a swastika the surgeon said he could not continue, an 11 December article in the Munich daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. “I cannot operate on this man,” the newspaper quoted the surgeon as telling the patient’s wife. “I am a Jew.”

The 46 year old surgeon, who later explained that his conscience …

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