The lawyer for a dutch neurologist convicted deliberately giving inaccurate diagnoses including of Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis to several patients said Monday his client has brain damage that could have affected his actions.
Lawyer Peter Plesman made the claim on the first day of an appeals hearing in the medical malpractice conviction of disgraced doctor Ernst Jansen Steur.
The case is one of the biggest medical malpractice negligence prosecutions in Dutch history. Jansen Steur also practiced in neighboring Germany. The prominent neurologist was convicted last year of harming the mental and physical health of eight patients by treating them for diseases they didn't have. One patient took her own life as a result of false diagnosis, believing that she was in the terminal phase of an illness.
Jansen Steur was senteced to three years in prison. He is appealing his convictions and prosecutors are appealing, saying he should be given a longer sentence. Prosecutors sought a six-year prison term at his trial. As well as accusing psychological suffering in patients who believed they had a degenerative neurological disorder, Jansen Steur also prescribed them medication with serious side effects.
Plesman said a car crash 25 years ago left the neurologist with brain damage that has only recently been diagnosed. "My client has been diagnosed with a frontal syndrome," Plesman said. "He and all the people around him are convinced that his behavior has been determined by this, now and in the past."
Jansen Steur, who has also been diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder and was addictive to prescription sedatives at the time of his false diagnoses, did not attend Monday's hearing in the eastern city of Arnhem.
One of his victims cast doubts on the brain-damage claim. "Someone who has suffered brain injury a collision isn't eight years OK, three years not OK and the next eight years fine again. I do not understand this," said Joke Prins, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003.
Source: ABC News