• Sweden edition
 
Baby 'euthanasia' trial opens in Stockholm

Baby 'euthanasia' trial opens in Stockholm

Published: 13 Sep 2011 13:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Sep 2011 13:44 GMT+02:00

The trial against a Swedish doctor accused of infant euthanasia came underway on Tuesday, a case causing concern among the country's medical profession.

The case, which has received significant media coverage since the baby's death in 2009, is exceptional because legal procedures against doctors are very rare in Sweden, where malpractice cases usually go before the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) with no criminal ramifications.

The case has raised concerns in medical circles, leaving doctors uncertain and wary of performing certain operations for fear of legal consequences.

The 57-year-old doctor, a woman whose name has not been disclosed, has been charged with manslaughter or alternatively attempted manslaughter for allegedly administering excessive doses of thiopental, an anaesthetic, to a very sick three-month-old baby that was born prematurely and was expected to die shortly of brain damage.

The doctor had removed the child from a life support system after consulting with the family and concluding that the baby's life could not be saved.

But an autopsy ordered by the family later found that the infant had received abnormally high doses of thiopental, and the family then had charges pressed against the doctor.

On Tuesday the doctor denied having administered thiopental and entered a plea of not guilty, her lawyer Björn Hurtig said, Swedish news agency TT reported.

She faces six to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Marta Christensen, the deputy head of Stockholm's Association of Medical Practitioners, said the case has left many doctors rattled.

"To question yourself is part of the job but now maybe they think things over a bit more and that means longer decision-making processes that in the end can unnecessarily delay medical care. A sense of insecurity has plagued the entire medical corps," Christensen told Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

While the court has to determine whether or not the doctor administered thiopental, a top Swedish expert in penal law said in an editorial in newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter that the prosecutor was wrong to press charges.

Professor emeritus Margareta Leijonhufvud argued that in end-of-life medical care, ethical guidelines allow doctors to administer painkillers even if it means death comes sooner than it otherwise would have.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

19:06 September 13, 2011 by Douglas Garner
Is there any evidence or witness? Other suspects?
09:47 September 14, 2011 by wolverine2k
I guess the doctor was basically freeing the baby from all the pains it was suffering. It was anyways going to die of brain damage. And she would be charged with 6-10 years of prison. What about people who are killing others who are not going to die? They just get 2 years. Man, crazy Sweden!
11:05 September 14, 2011 by framboize
I agree that this is not comparale to someone killing people that are not going to die. But I would have done the same thing as these parents and NOT because blaming my babys death on someone.

BUT its time that doctors in Sweden take their responsibility because its far away to much nonchalans and wrongdiagnosis. Feels like the doctors in Sweden are untouchable. Met to many arrogant ones myself!
02:23 September 21, 2011 by hldmacc2011
Doctors in Sweden are the best of the best. I haven't met a better one anywhere else, and I am very offended to hear such slander of Swedish doctors.
18:12 March 22, 2012 by strixy
From what I have read I am inclined tot hink the doctor was freeing the baby from pain. it would have died anyway and I find it somehow surprsing if the family wanted it to die in pain?
Today's headlines
Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

729
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com