German doctor flees Algarve after “compulsory” committal to mental asylum

A German doctor has spoken of the “complete nightmare” that left him with “one hour to leave Portugal” after building up a successful practice in Almancil over 16 years.

Reported in Público last week was the story of “a German doctor working in the Algarve” who had seen his appeal against compulsory internment in a mental asylum turned down (click here).

What Público did not say was that the doctor actually fled the country last year – fearing for his life.

“I would be dead if I had stayed,” Dr Robert Reisert told us from his new base in Bavaria.

“They would have put me in a jacket and given me lots of medication. I would have died, for sure.”

The story is all the more incredible as Reisert has no idea why he was “prosecuted”.

None of his patients had made any complaints. There were no scare stories in the press. Even the Público article was unspecific. It simply said that Évora judges had ruled the doctor – who it did not name – posed an “unacceptable risk” to his patients.

Público claimed that the doctor had told patients he could “cure diabetes in 10 days using huge doses of insulin”.

Promises were also made over cancer treatments.

“It is all lies,” Reisert told us. “I certainly made no promises about curing diabetes in 10 days – and certainly not with high doses of insulin.

“It’s all nonsense. I am a doctor; an intelligent man. I have had myself assessed by other doctors, who have said the same thing.

“What happened to me in Portugal was incredible. It is incredible that such things can still happen today.”

Dr Reisert told us of the moment when his lawyer said: “You have one hour to leave Portugal.”

“They would have come to take me,” he explained. He had lost the first case taken out against him in 2007 and, as far as his lawyer was aware, the authorities were due to enforce the court’s decision to have him compulsorily interned in a mental institution.

“I left everything behind. My surgery, my machines, everything,” he explained. “I have no more property anymore in Portugal.”

It was clearly a horrific experience which he was loathe to discuss over the phone – particularly as we had rung him during daily consultations.

The Resident has agreed to mail Dr Reisert and try and build up a picture of what happened and why – and what it was exactly that led to his court case and self-propelled flight from the country.

Meantime, Dr Reisert cannot return to Portugal without the threat of compulsory committal to a mental asylum hanging over him.

Even more bizarre is the fact that the Portuguese “Ordem dos Médicos” (doctors association) has made no moves to strike him off, or take any further action.

President of the association José Manuel da Silva said it had simply published a resumé of the court ruling in the hope “that citizens realise that they shouldn’t believe in miracles, but in science”.

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