Bonn Police and the prosecution searched youth facilities where the child and adolescent psychiatrist in Bonn Michael Winterhoff worked. They secured several patient records.
Bonn public prosecutors and police searched last Thursday with about 100 serviced youth facilities where child and adolescent psychiatrist Michael Winterhoff worked. He is being investigated on suspicion of causing dangerous bodily harm. Winterhoff said through his attorney that he denies the allegations and assumes his treatments were legal.
According to authorities, more than 15 buildings in NRW, Rhineland-Palatinate and Lower Saxony were searched. According to information from the Bonn Generalanzeiger, this also includes Winterhoff’s private rooms and former practices in Bonns Handelsstrasse. According to the prosecution, the purpose was to secure patient records: “Everyone affected by the measures was cooperative and voluntarily provided the relevant documents on the basis of the respective decisions, which are now being evaluated.” Accordingly, “complex” medical problems need to be clarified “.
There has been an investigation against Winterhoff since September 2021. In the WDR documentary Why Children Are No Tyrants on August 10, Winterhoff is accused of having prescribed pipamperone, a powerful sedative, for children without medical indication. He is said to have given children the same, technically controversial diagnosis systematically and without a personal history, and to have prescribed them psychotropic drugs – sometimes without the consent of the legal guardians. As a result, several notifications were received by Bonn’s public prosecutor, who then investigated the allegation of dangerous bodily harm through possibly inappropriate and professional treatment.
The initial suspicions have apparently been confirmed
The initial suspicion of these ads has now apparently been substantiated. The searches are particularly sensitive in this case because it is very personal data that is noted in the patient records. It is unclear whether the new investigations will bring further suspicions against other parties to light. The examination of the first available evidence has already taken several months, and due to the additional files now secured, the evaluation is likely to become even more complex.
Winterhoff is now at large and denies the allegations. His lawyers said he believes the WDR report contains misrepresentations and that he will intervene in the reporting. Attorney Carsten Brennecke, who represents Winterhoff under the Press Act, again made it clear: “In favor of Dr. Winterhoff, he is still presumed innocent. Nothing has changed since he denied the allegations in question. He believes his treatments were lawful. “
A look back at the events so far
- In mid-August – a few days after the allegations became known – Winterhoff resigned from the board of the Bonn association “Kleiner Muck”. As part of a voluntary company, he was a member of the entire association’s board – and at the same time the doctor who treated most of the children in the association’s six 24 – hour offer.
- According to his lawyer, Winterhoff had to deal with many youth welfare offices as part of his work as a specialist. After the documentary was aired, some youth welfare offices checked their collaboration with Winterhoff, and St. Augustine suspended the collaboration “until further notice,” Carolin Trost, spokeswoman for the city of St. Augustine, told Bonn Generalanzeiger in August.
- In late September, the Bonn Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to General-Anzeiger that there was a preliminary case against “a child psychiatrist from Bonn”. Even then, the Bonn Generalanzeiger learned that it was Michael Winterhoff against whom serious allegations of physical harm and billing fraud were made. The number of charges against Winterhoff is now in double digits.
- In late 2021, Michael Winterhoff announced that he was closing his practice on Handelstrasse in Bonn on December 10, after more than 30 years. Renowned pediatrician and author Herbert Renz-Polster, one of Winterhoff’s harshest critics for years, pointed out that the closure of practice does not mean that Winterhoff is giving up his medical work: “He can continue to treat patients where he wants, for example in institutions “Because he still has his medical license, thanks to the responsible medical association.”
- The district government of Cologne is responsible for issuing or revoking the medical license – the license to practice medicine. Dirk Schneemann, deputy spokesman for the Cologne district government, said on Friday that they wanted to wait for the public prosecutor to investigate the case.
This article first appeared in the Bonn Generalanzeiger.