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Agency to probe doc who broke baby’s collarbone

Agency to probe doc who broke baby’s collarbone

Published: 10 Feb 2012 07:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2012 07:47 GMT+01:00

A doctor in central Sweden, who broke the collarbone of an infant during a 55 hour long delivery after using the ventouse nine times, is being investigated by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

“We have come to the conclusion that what happened is serious enough for the physician to be investigated further,” said Eva Forsberg at the agency to daily Aftonbladet.

In May last year, the young Swedish couple Johanna Svensson and Alfred Svärd from Eksjö in northern Sweden lost their daughter Hilda after a 55-hour ordeal, during which the specialist doctor refused to perform a caesarean against the expectant mother’s pleas.

“I begged and begged for him to give me a c-section. I was so tired and had no more strength and my uterus had collapsed. My partner said that I was exhausted. But the doctor just said that ‘all women can give birth naturally’,” said Svensson to the paper.

The delivery, which dragged on for 55 hours, was a nightmare affair. The nurses were crying, the midwife was urging the doctor to perform the caesarean and the doctor had already injured the unborn baby by breaking her collarbone, according to the paper.

A junior doctor had early on made the call that this was not the right time to use a ventouse – a vacuum device used to assist in deliveries when the second stage of labour has not progressed adequately – yet the specialist thought otherwise.

And tried using the device nine times before giving up.

The couple’s infant Hilda died in the ordeal and Johanna was seriously injured and had to be rushed to another operation where she underwent a massive blood transfusion.

The hospital reported the incident to the National Board of Health and Welfare, according to Lex Maria, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

At the hospital, officials think that the responsibility lay with the doctor who “acted outside the guidelines of the hospital”. The doctor, however, remains adamant he did nothing wrong.

Svensson and Svärd, pregnant again, are hoping that the physician will lose his licence and say that they are relieved by the new decision from the National Board of Health and Welfare to investigate further.

“That is what we have said from the beginning. But he has refused to admit he was wrong. There is no punishment severe enough to compare to the suffering we are going though and will carry with us for the rest of our lives,” Svensson told Aftonbladet.

According to the paper the incident has also been reported to the police and prosecutor. The police classify the case as suspected manslaughter and causing of bodily harm.

“We have begun the preliminary investigation. I will decide what measures will be taken and how the police can proceed with the information we have received,” said prosecutor Stefan Edwardsson to Aftonbladet.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:24 February 10, 2012 by Da Goat
shoot the bull!
09:58 February 10, 2012 by StockholmSam
"om Eksjö in northern Sweden"

I lived in Eksjö for two years. When I was there, it was in Småland, 3.5 hours south of Stockholm. Did it move and not leave a forwarding address?

Seriously, though, this doc needs to have his career ended now before another unsuspecting couple winds up on his delivery table.
11:07 February 10, 2012 by Youdee
'"A doctor in northern Sweden ... is being investigated by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen)." According to today's DN, the investigation means NOTHING, because NOTHING gets done!
11:49 February 10, 2012 by Ter76
This story is horrific, he not only be expelled from his practice of a doctor, but put in prison... My heart goes out to these poor parents. :( very sad.
11:58 February 10, 2012 by gabeltoon
How sad. I'm glad i live in SCOTLAND with our NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE. Surely the doctor would have given a c-section long before 55 hours of labor.
12:23 February 10, 2012 by krrodman
Yes, this doc needs to lose his license and be put out to pasture. No question about it. He seems to be an arrogant fool, a bad combination of personality traits for a doctor.

What bothers me, however, is the police investigation. I understand that the National Board of Health and Welfare is impotent and ineffective. But, is it really better to have the police investigate medical matters? Or, put differently, when did bad medical judgement become a crime?

Let me propose a better solution. The airline industry has vastly improved its safety record over the last several decades by empowering every employee to take responsibility for the safety of the flight. While the Captain is still in charge, the baggage handler can ground a flight if he notices something wrong with the airplane. Nurses need to be empowered to seek immediate remedy if they feel that a life is in danger. Every hospital has both nursing and physician leadership. Rather than pleading with the doctor to do a C-section, a call to the leadership of the hospital may have changed the course of events in this tragic case.
16:00 February 10, 2012 by VicTaulic
We need more details, obviously. A broken collarbone means that the Doctor already did the McRoberts Maneuver, meaning that it was a very large baby and extreme measures were needed to reduce the size of the shoulders. It is the shoulders, and not the head, that are the problem, and breaking the collarbone usually takes care of that. Using vacuum extraction after breaking the collarbone should have worked. But we will see. Putting nurses and midwives in control of deliveries based on this case is a silly idea. I am not sure what a "junior" doctor is, quite frankly.
16:35 February 10, 2012 by chrisco
He tortured and murdered a person (the baby) and plain old tortured the parents. He should be put in jail or worse. Unbelievable.
17:44 February 10, 2012 by AmusedMuses
jail the ass
19:18 February 10, 2012 by Svensksmith
Perform a C section on his head and see if there is a brain in there.
21:06 February 10, 2012 by VicTaulic
Vacuum extractors are designed to pop off if there is too much resistance, so I doubt that using that, even nine times, would have broken the neck. Maybe the OB confused the collarbone with the neck? Breaking the collarbone is an accepted procedure on difficult deliveries. Could the doctor have broken the neck by mistake?! At any rate, I do know that some OB doctors believe that natural birth is far better than a C-section, to the point where resorting to a C-section is felt to be a failure. But we shall see.
21:33 February 10, 2012 by sureiam
Not surprised; Swedish Docs work under stress atmosphere...... More Docs needed in this bloody rich country.....................Poor baby, What a mess of pain on the mother .... 55 hours on labour, its like a life time of torture, I usual have not more than 5 hours and its like forever....................55 hrs ???, damn!
23:17 February 10, 2012 by expatjourno
55 hours. 55 F-ING HOURS. FIFTY-FIVE EFFING HOURS!!!!!!!!!!

That sadistic butcher should never be allowed to touch a patient again.
00:06 February 11, 2012 by strixy
I would like to know what university this doctor graduated from. 'All women can give birth naturally' seems to me like pretty ideological statement, considering the circumstances.
09:15 February 11, 2012 by zooeden
Sure I can imagine there is a very but very low level of error here and it was a delicate error. The doctor could have admited to the fatal error and maybe I could have thought things through but if Im the dad and call me animal and he is still denying he has done wrong then I would certanly kidnap him and beat him for a good hour untill he admits it... Im an animal I guess but I prefer the truth and then we be fair...
16:28 February 11, 2012 by SuperTulle
"I did nothing wrong, the baby just sort of died."

How can a guy go through 5+ years of medical education and still be this stupid?
20:54 February 11, 2012 by Gretchen
This report just did not let go of me for many days. I feel so sorry for the family.

Every women can give birth naturally? If that were true, why is childbirth one of the main causes of death for young women where there is no medical care around? In older days and in many parts of the world today children and/or mothers die often in childbirth. This is complete bull!

Civilized society deals with this problem by developing medical procedures and medical help! Something he denied.

I am so sorry for the family and hope they can get some form of legal justice and wish that he can never ever practice again. Is his name known so people can be warned?
02:30 February 14, 2012 by blue2012
I always thought Sweden is one of those countries were they always had high standards in any profession.

I was wrong.
11:33 February 14, 2012 by sureiam
You were dear, @blue2012.... didn´t hear even the recent scandalous, sad stories of the "the bloody Swedish Docs" missing the CANCER in two or three cases of patients.............. yeah actual one died of stomach cancer , the other has lost his leg because of the spread of cancer without doctors noticing on time, and even worth his cancer has pread to his lungs..... so we are simply looking into a murder case here..............shooooot!
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