• Sweden's news in English
 

Swedish docs cleared over misplaced colon

Published: 01 Jul 2009 11:06 GMT+02:00

The faulty operation took place in January at Malmö University Hospital on a patient who had previously had surgery for an inflamed rectum following treatment for prostate cancer.

Doctors were planning to carry out a sigmoidostomy, a procedure whereby the patient is given an artificial anus through an opening in the sigmoid colon.

But following the procedure, the doctors managed to sew the man's lower intestine to his bladder.

After the operation, one of the doctors admitted he noticed a difference in the thickness of the intestinal wall and what turned out to be the bladder as he stitched the two together.

“I obviously misjudged the anatomy in the minor pelvis,” wrote one of the doctors in a post operative report cited in a ruling by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

“In hindsight there are signals that should have made me realize I was on the wrong track. I still can’t, despite going over things several times in my mind, really explain how I could have made such a serious misjudgment of the anatomy.”

The health board’s investigation also revealed that, for certain periods of the complex procedure, only one surgeon was at the operating table.

In addition, one of the doctors admitted that he was “weighed down with social problems” and as a result was “mentally out of sync” at the time of the operation.

The botched operation was repaired in a subsequent surgery four days later, but still resulted in a number of serious complications for the man, forcing him to endure a prolonged hospital stay.

While the health board was “highly critical” of the doctors for not taking a “time out” or asking a colleague for help in light of the operation’s numerous anomalies, it nevertheless elected not to sanction the surgeons for their mistake.

According to the agency, the blunder can be attributed to “the sum of a series of unfortunate circumstances” including a heavy workload for the doctors involved.

“There is nothing to indicate it was deliberate carelessness or that the professionals involved pose a risk to other individuals,” wrote the Board of Health of Welfare in its ruling.

In the future, the agency said it plans to keep close watch over how the workload of doctors at the hospital may affect patient safety.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:51 July 1, 2009 by Random
That is absolutely bs!!

How can this happen, and the surgeon 'gets off'

I cannot believe some of the antics I read about here in Sweden....is that really acceptable??
12:45 July 1, 2009 by Tennin
The doctor isn't at fault!?! I'm speechless. Thank you Swedish hospitals, doctors, and health authorities for all the mistakes they can do on patients and get away with it. Makes me never want to go to the doctors now.
13:58 July 1, 2009 by Morenikeji
Comment: In my opinion the Swedish health care system is a sham (shameful too!), an absolute disgrace to a country that prides itself on high standard. Misdiagnosis, wrong treament, wrong medication couple with non-charlant attitudes of health workers are factors one must always take into consideration whenever one is contemplating seeking a medical help in Sweden. At the beginning of this year I went for consultation on HBP. The doctor took less than ten minutes to write me a prescription without telling me anything about the side-effects of the drugs and the things that can trigger a side-effect. I was lucky to check the internet and found that sucking a slice of grape with the drug could have caused a sudden heart-attack and possibly death. I rang up the doctor afterwards to ask if that information was true and he confirmed it. He said that he was stressed at the time. Well that seems to be the classical explanation for unprofessional and incompetent behaviour in that sector.
14:12 July 1, 2009 by Jeffi
Ask for a time out? "A series of unfortunate circumstances"? Swedish doctors noted for their appalling performances in the UK, an 'accidental" vasectomy and this? Good grief. I pray I never get sick enough to need a doctor here!
15:56 July 1, 2009 by Harding00
Mistakes happen, I understand that, but to not hold people accountable is just downright wrong and unethical. But was this botched surgery really accidental (I am not saying it was intentional, but accidental means there was really no way of avoiding it)? The article states that "The health board's investigation also revealed that, for certain periods of the complex procedure, only one surgeon was at the operating table." I'm not a doctor, and won't pretend to be, but there is something odd about that sentence. Oh wait, It's probably standard procedure to have a least two surgeons at all times so mistakes like these don't happen! And since the health board cleared the doctors, does this mean the patient can't sue them for medical malpractice?
16:36 July 1, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Mistakes happen, just live with it!

Why should a doctor be accountable for a little mistake when a computer nerd can screw up a line of code and cause customers an inconvinience and companies large sums of money and not even get a slap on the wrist.

Remember this is Sweden and we belive in Jantelägen (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jante_Law if you don't know what it is). By making a doctor accountable for his mistakes and expecting perfection from everything they do, then we are elevating the doctors role and importantce in society and implicitly saying that they are better than the rest of us.

Get real, this is Sweden!
16:37 July 1, 2009 by Jeffi
Going in for a prostate biopsy any time soon, Renfeh?
17:58 July 1, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Americans, take note of how socialized healthcare operates.
22:16 July 1, 2009 by Greg in Canada
"Why should a doctor be accountable for a little mistake "

If it was your operation they screwed up would you still feel the same?
23:15 July 1, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
I was being a little sarcastic, ok totally

This has got nothing to do with socialised health care and all about societies attitudes, expectations and accountability

If the US offered universal free health care and doctor made mistakes, those doctors would be still sued out of existance.

I always find it funny how both Swedes and Americans use each other country as an example of "what will happen if ..."

Both countries are polar opposites in many areas. Sweden will never become like the US as it moves to the right and the US will never become like Sweden with a left swing.
07:41 July 2, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
If you don't know how to use those dots - just don't use them. It is jantelagen, not jantelägen.
12:20 July 3, 2009 by ameribrit
Jantelagen, that's funny! If we are all of equal worth then why does a physician get paid such a stupid amount of tax payer money but a, (insert your occupation here) of "equal worth" has to make do with less.

If only Sweden would wake up and realize that it actually could be the way it pretends to be.
12:56 July 3, 2009 by skane refugee
In the above quoted thread a few months ago relating to another Swedish medical scandal, Puffin seemed to be able to demonstrate that there was a system for dealing with medical malpractice complaints in Sweden.

My question to anyone who can answer is 'what exactly were those doctors doing that did get punished/suffered some sort of penalty' under the existing system ... since it seems that many fairly extreme cases are happening regularly with no apparent consequences for the medical practitioners concerned ...
20:06 July 3, 2009 by volvoman9
What vocation is without it's mistakes? Do we sanction all mistakes in the workplace. We have long held the medical profession to standards that we do not hold anyone else to. We need to be realistic here. Does punishment minimize risk exposure? Who knows? Should the patient be compensated? Perhaps. However as we continually raise the bar for physicians often in hopes of a monetary reward fewer of our brightest and best will find reason to pursue this vocation. It's much easier to make big money screwing people in the political, oil or banking industries than spending years in school only to gamble with the specter of ruin for one mistake. Now a pattern of mistakes signals another issue altogether.
21:31 July 3, 2009 by skane refugee
Isn't the use of that expression such a grievous and blatant breach of 'jantelagen' that it's grounds for immediate deportation from Sweden? ;o) ;o)
08:10 July 4, 2009 by Marley420
Everything worked out the best, I mean, the dry cleaners found the colon in his suit pocket. In hind sight...check your pockets before sending to dry cleaners!
16:07 July 4, 2009 by Stüpid
I did not understand exactly what you have written.

But accordingly I say... Is a Doctor getting paid salary from tax payers money?

Well why don't you think he is paying tax for you instead from his little salary(comparativey less with other countries).

Doctor works hard in his life and studies. and finally becomes a professional. It's simplw to pick garbage. With less responsibility. You just pick garbage and home.

Always blaming some professional has become a fashion in this society.

Once one doctor said... well I would be happy to stop my profession. If a doctor stops work then to make someone doctor is not easy. He can pick garbage easily and pay tax. But garbage picker cannot become a doctor so easily.

Facing something which we are not in life is something not easy. I regret if we both said the same thing... if you mentioned opposite then I do not regret it.
16:40 July 4, 2009 by Stüpid
I Don't think this rule Jantelagen works perfectly either.

If it works... then why would people compare to each other...

Why would someone buy expensive cars, clothes etc?

Why would someone go to a beauty parlour?

this guidelines. Everything cannot be equal. If everything is equal then why would there be courts? why we would behave in different manner.

We have to appreciate if someone did a good job. Otherwise the society would get worse. See the laws have changed already... no longer like before... 9 to 10 years extended 18 years and life imprisonment. The world is slowly adjusting equally.

One day this nebero will destroy all of us and we will be left with nothing.
22:26 July 5, 2009 by dtes
NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ONES ACTIONS IS TO BE FOUND IN THIS TOILET OF A COUNTRY!

and yet we get taxed to pay these peoples way through life, and i dont even make but 800 dollars a month.
Today's headlines
Christian Democrats elect first female leader
Photo: TT

Christian Democrats elect first female leader

Sweden’s Christian Democrats on Saturday unanimously elected Ebba Busch Thor as the party’s leader, replacing Göran Hägglund. At 28, she’s the youngest person to ever lead a Swedish party in parliament. READ  

Municipal interpreters spoke wrong language
Most migrants from Romania speak Romanian, not Romany. Photo: TT

Municipal interpreters spoke wrong language

The municipality of Helsingborg hired interpreters to communicate with migrants from Romania. Problem was, the interpreters spoke a language the Romanians didn’t know at all. READ  

Swede wins world boxing title
Badou, left, connects with Anthony Dirrell during the fight in Chicago. Photo: AFP

Swede wins world boxing title

Sweden's Badou Jack claimed the World Boxing Council's super middleweight title as he outpointed previously unbeaten Anthony Dirrell in Chicago on Friday night. READ  

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers
The Swedish police heroes meet with NYPD heads. Photo: New York Police Department/TT

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers

A video has emerged of Swedish off-duty police officers breaking up a violent fight on the New York subway. READ  

Eighth happiest: why are the Swedes not pleased?
Swedes are the eighth happiest people in the world. Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Eighth happiest: why are the Swedes not pleased?

Sweden is the eighth happiest country in the world, according to the UN. But the result has not gone down well in the Nordic country. The Local caught up with an expert to find out why. READ  

Löfven: Palestine move was done by the book
Stefan Löfven gets a grilling from the powerful Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Swedish parliament. Photo. Henrik Montgomery/Scanpix

Löfven: Palestine move was done by the book

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has denied that he bypassed parliament when the country recognized Palestine last year. READ  

Early summer sweeps in across much of Sweden
Swedes enjoying the sunshine in Stockholm. Photo: The Local

Early summer sweeps in across much of Sweden

Get the barbeque out and your swim suit ready – summer is here. In fact, western and parts of central Sweden have been able to enjoy the year's warmest season for the past seven days. READ  

Defence giant Saab sees surprise fall in profits
Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Defence giant Saab sees surprise fall in profits

Swedish defence giant Saab announced a surprise drop in first-quarter operating profits on Friday, while the company took a 3.8 percent tumble on the Stockholm stock market. READ  

Need more space? Check out Sweden's priciest flat
An artist's impression of the sitting room of Sweden's most expensive apartment. Image: Sivkraft

Need more space? Check out Sweden's priciest flat

Is money burning a hole in your pocket? Sweden's most expensive apartment in history could help you offload some cash. READ  

Thieves crash loader into store in Stockholm raid
Thieves crashed a loader through the walls of a Swedish electronics store. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Thieves crash loader into store in Stockholm raid

Swedish police are investigating after thieves carried out an advanced smash and grab heist on an electronics store in Stockholm on Friday morning. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Features
My bizarre Swedish habits that foreigners just don't understand
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,307
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se