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German doctor makes house calls in rural region struggling with medical shortage

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Country doctor Dieter Baermann measures the blood pressure of an elderly patient Giesela Herfert in the patient's home on August 8 in Sachsendorf near Seelow, Germany. Baermann works in the state of Brandenburg in eastern Germany, a region that is struggling with a shortage of doctors in rural areas. Critics charge that current laws actually discourage doctors from taking up posts in rural areas, and the German government is debating a new law intended to reverse the trend. Many doctors across Germany complain about a legal system that they claim burdens them with too many costs and hampers their ability to provide the best care.

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Country doctor Dieter Baermann measures the blood sugar level of an elderly patient in the patient's home on August 8 in Sachsendorf, Germany.

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Baermann touches the face of patient Margot Panzer on August 8 in Sachsendorf, Germany.

Carsten Koall / Getty Images

Country doctor Dieter Baermann arrives for a home visit of a patient.