• Sweden's news in English
 
Swedish docs cleared over misplaced colon

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
Fast wifi tops Swedes' holiday wish list
Dreaming of a faster wifi? Photo: TT

Fast wifi tops Swedes' holiday wish list

Nice views are all well and good but the item that Swedes prioritize above all when kicking back on holiday is the speed of their wifi connection, a new survey has shown. READ  

Princess Madeleine plans Europe move
Photo: The Royal Court

Princess Madeleine plans Europe move

Sweden's Princess Madeleine has said that she and her husband Chris O'Neil plan to soon leave the US and move to Europe as the couple await their second child. READ  

Teenager arrested over Malmö bomb
Photo: TT

Teenager arrested over Malmö bomb

A 15-year-old has been arrested after a series of new explosions rocked the Malmö suburb of Rosengpård on Christmas Eve. READ  

Sweden's legal elite take ice bucket challenge
Photo: Screenshot Maria Melin

Sweden's legal elite take ice bucket challenge

A group of some of Sweden's top prosecutors, police officers and legal powerbrokers have joined the legions of people worldwide and subjected themselves to an icy shower to promote awareness of ALS. READ  

Sweden braces for Christmas Eve snow
File photo: TT

Sweden braces for Christmas Eve snow

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for heavy snow in Sweden's east and near north on Christmas Eve as a winter takes a belated grip on the country. READ  

'Avoid politics for Christmas peace': expert
Swedish Christmas smorgasbord. Photo: TT

'Avoid politics for Christmas peace': expert

Ban political discussions at Christmas and go easy on the alcohol - two tips from Swedish experts for a peaceful and cordial family festive season after a stormy political autumn. READ  

Swedish help hotlines ready for festive rush
Photo: TT

Swedish help hotlines ready for festive rush

Help hotlines across Sweden are preparing themselves for what is typically one of the busiest periods of year. READ  

Zlatan peeved with nod for 'second-best athlete'

Zlatan peeved with nod for 'second-best athlete'

Swedish footballing superstar has expressed his dissatisfaction at being ranked as the second best sports star in Swedish history. "Being second is as good as coming last," he said. READ  

Opinion
Romanians go hungry as mega-cathedral rises
Homeless people queueing for food in Bucharest. File photo: TT

Romanians go hungry as mega-cathedral rises

The EU should demand that Romania meets its membership obligations and prioritizes its destitute people ahead of 'pharaoh-esque' building projects, the Liberal Party's Jenny Sonesson argues. READ  

Stockholm promised a white Christmas
Stockholm in the snow last year. Photo: TT

Stockholm promised a white Christmas

Sweden's weather agency has predicted a white Christmas for the Swedish capital, with snow expected to fall on Christmas Eve. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Technology
Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas
Society
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
Blog updates

23 December

Editor’s Blog, December 23rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, It’s time for the weekly news round up… on a Tuesday? Yes, on a Tuesday. Most of the..." READ »

 

22 December

A Tale of Three Cities (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on my blog, Sir David King, The..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Gallery
People-watching: December 20th - 21st
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
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

1,675
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
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options