Forced x-ray in asylum-seeking children
Unaccompanied minor refugees are subjected to questionable X-ray examinations for age estimation purposes
X-rays are very important in medicine, but they also pose a considerable health risk. The practice widely used here in Germany to determine the age of unaccompanied minor refugees who arrive in Germany without identity papers by means of an age estimation with the help of X-ray images is therefore considered by the „International doctors for the prevention of nuclear war“ (IPPNW) extremely critically evaluated.
Today, it is known that the dose-response relationship with X-rays is linear without threshold, so there is no limit below which ionizing radiation would be harmless, explain the IPPNW experts. Therefore physicians are under the X-ray Ordinance (RöV) obliged to carry out x-ray examinations only if the health benefits of the application to humans over the radiation risk outweighs. X-rays for age determination are clearly against the RöV. In addition, the results of the study are not very meaningful, reports dr. Winfrid Eisenberg from the Atomic Energy Working Group of the IPPNW.
„There are no medical indications for age-related radiographs. For this reason alone, this investigation is inadmissible“, explained Dr. Eisenberg and added: „In addition, the X-ray studies on the age estimate do not contribute, because the deviation from the mean can be two to three years down and up.“ In his opinion, doctors should therefore refuse such investigations. For the refugee minors in question, the examinations are not only extremely critical from a health point of view, but rather often they are mistakenly treated as of age on the basis of the results, have to conduct their proceedings without a guardian and can be deported, according to Drs. Eisenberg continues. The IPPNW expert concludes that the handling of German authorities with unaccompanied minor refugees is often „inhumane“ is. In conversation with „Heilpraxisnet.de“ founded Dr. Eisenberg the IPPNW position.
Heilpraxisnet: Dr. Eisenberg Your organization has repeatedly pointed to the critical approach to age estimation of unaccompanied minor refugees. How many refugees are affected by these measures??
Dr. Eisenberg: In 2012, 4,767 unaccompanied young refugees were taken into custody by the youth welfare offices. Since not all, who are under 18 years, objection against official or medical „Age determinations“ raise the actual number of those affected is much higher.
What health risks are exposed to those affected??
If not only the hand, but also the teeth (orthopantomogram) and the collarbone-sternum joints (computed tomography) are examined radiographically, the result is a radiation exposure of about 800 µSv (microsievert); in this country 1 mSv (1 millisievert = 1000) is the limit for the annual exposure of the normal population to ionizing radiation from artificial sources µSv). Accordingly, this annual limit is almost achieved by the above investigations in no time. Numerous studies have shown that diagnostic X-rays can trigger diseases (such as cancer). Children and adolescents are also more sensitive to radiation than the elderly.
Can the refugees refuse X-ray examinations or legally defend themselves against them??
Theoretically, the adolescents could reject the X-ray examinations; But they are told that it belongs to it and that it is not dangerous. They are also taught that "lack of cooperation" would adversely affect their process.
How is the official assessment of the obvious contradiction between the principles of the RöV and the x-ray examinations for age determination?
It is claimed that without X-ray examinations one could not carry out an age report. It is also said that a court order issued by the court overturns the RöV at this point. But that is wrong: the "justifying indication" must be provided by a doctor.
How do you think the affected refugees should be treated??
In case of doubts at the specified age, a close observation of the young refugee is required, a detailed medical history without time pressure and interrogation atmosphere, whereby also the school data is to be paid attention. The aim is not to reduce a young person to his bone age, but to gain a comprehensive impression of his personality, his behavior, the existing or missing emotions, the social and intellectual development status, etc. So it is in the end possible to estimate the age. We call this the "holistic" (holistic) approach. (Fp)