Washington Post | 25Nov2010 | Andrea Jarach, David Rising

Doctor: No significant change in Demjanjuk health

MUNICH -- A German doctor testified Thursday that John Demjanjuk is receiving better care in a Munich prison hospital than he did in the U.S. and that his health has "not significantly changed" since his trial began.

Demjanjuk, 90, suffers from low hemoglobin and a variety of other health problems, and has had at least 9 blood transfusions since his trial began last November 30, 2009.

The retired Ohio auto worker is standing trial on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly having been a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland. Demjanjuk denies ever being a camp guard, saying he has been mistaken for someone else.

Demjanjuk attends court sessions lying in a hospital bed, usually wearing dark sunglasses. In recent weeks, his defense team has argued that his health has deteriorated so that he is in too much pain he to follow the proceedings.

But Dr. Christoph Nerl, a blood specialist, told the Munich state court that Demjanjuk's condition has not significantly changed, that his last blood transfusion was Oct. 5, 2010 and that his hemoglobin levels are now fine.

Nerl testified that, of 31 blood examinations since April 2010, 23 showed good hemoglobin levels, five were borderline and three were dangerously low.

The doctor told the court that Demjanjuk has benefited from drug treatments given to him in Germany that he had been unable to get in the U.S., because "in the USA he was not insured anymore."

"In general he is doing better here than in the USA," Nerl testified.

Demjanjuk's son told The Associated Press that his father's medical care in the U.S. was top-notch.

"Dr. Nerl's testimony is false and intended only to support the court's wishes," John Demjanjuk Jr. said in an e-mail. "My father had very good medical insurance here as a Ford retiree and had doctors who cared for him without the pressure of politically motivated judges influencing their opinions."


Rising reported from Berlin