• Sweden edition
 

Newborn dropped on the floor at Swedish hospital

Published: 03 Jul 2012 08:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Jul 2012 08:25 GMT+02:00

A prematurely born baby boy was dropped on the floor by staff at the Skåne University Hospital in Malmö on Monday, in a neonatal unit which was understaffed at the time.

The newborn, which had been born ten weeks early, was on his way to have his lung x-rayed when the incident took place, the local Sydsvenskan newspaper reported.

Hospital staff were in the process of placing an x-ray plate under the infant when he suddenly tumbled to the floor.

"They lifted up the boy and somehow dropped him on the floor. I don't know if he slid out of their hands or fell off the bed. But he fell on the floor and screamed," clinic head Elisabeth Olhager told the paper.

The little boy's parents were left in a state of shock over the boy's fall.

"The parents are understandably very concerned and devastated," said Olhager, who added that staff members who witnessed the fall were also deeply troubled by the incident.

Despite the shocking fall, the newborn reportedly came through the incident without injury.

However, he is expected to undergo further scans to ensure that he didn't receive any skull fractures as a result of the fall to the floor.

Meanwhile, Olhager told Sydsvenskan that the hospital is taking the incident "very seriously" and plans to launch an investigation.

At the time of the boy's fall, the neonatal unit was overcrowded and understaffed, but Olhager refused to speculate on whether or not those circumstances contributed to the incident.

Just a few weeks ago, the unit came in for criticism from Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) for poor hygiene and staffing practices.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

09:01 July 3, 2012 by texaslass
I feel badly for these parents who have been traumatized by this incident, but also believe that dropping a baby is hardly gross negligence. It is an accident. It is not as though a midwife or doctor made a stupid, miscalculated error, it is merely an accident.

Really, I hardly find this to be newsworthy. If the story is about understaffing at hospitals, then find a hard-hitting piece about that, but trying to make a case for understaffing issues with' dropping a baby' is a bit weak.
09:14 July 3, 2012 by krattan
These types of articles are published en masse to lessen confidence in Swedish healthcare. Either this comes from lobbyists who works for companies wanting to increase sell out of swedish hospitals from public to private hands. Or it is targeted against Obamacare. Or a combination of both.

Remember that PR groups has their own agenda to make money and can have several clients. The suggestion of "we can do this" does not need to come from a client but as an offer of "we already do this which is in your interest, with more resources we can increase the impact of our efforts" (and simultaneously increase the PR companys profit).
09:35 July 3, 2012 by wolverine2k
Great. So all the apologists now will repeat the same things. Instead of asking for improving health care and looking at the root cause, all these people would come out will be pathetic reasons of under staffing and semesters. I am pointing towards you #1 and #2.
10:03 July 3, 2012 by cogito
Though this is far from the most egregious example of Swedish, such articles are performing a public service.

Anyone who has confidence in Swdish healthcare is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Apologists like #2 are indirectly responsiblie for maiming and deaths resulting from wide-spread negligence and indifference.
10:07 July 3, 2012 by EP
understaffed - it's vacation time in Sweden ... it's normal. Poor kid though. Hope he's ok.
10:39 July 3, 2012 by krattan
My apologies to everyone accusing me of being apologetic.
10:41 July 3, 2012 by skogsbo
wolverine, if the staff weren't allowed holidays you would probably blame being overworked as the cause of this minor incident, he will occur worse as an infant and toddler in the first 5 years of his life, bumping and tripping over all manner of things himself!

If this had been some gross miscare, rather than someone simply tripping then it's cause for concern. Better to look at this person footwear and hospital floor surfaces if you want something to blame.
11:24 July 3, 2012 by The Groke
Good points from krattan and texaslass. The local is just playing us all for fools. That being said, the Skåne University Hospital system is seriously lacking. I've never been treated with more disregard in my life. And the level of professionalism and quality of care is subpar. Some examples from my experiences over the last year: Two months to get blood tests returned. 6 hour + emergency room waits. Botched medical procedures causing immense pain for which the doctor refuses to return phoned in complaints. Administration/prescription of drugs for which the doctors don't even have knowledge of (I suggested they use google). On my last visit, the doctor informed me that some representatives from an equipment manufacturing company were going to observe my (very private) procedure. I said no as she ushered them into the room... she became upset and barely spoke to me for the remainder of our session. She left the room without saying goodbye to go talk to the reps. Um... yeah, that's classy. It is incidents like this that make me wonder whether the system has already sold out to private corporations. Health care in the US, for example, can be pretty bad, but at least some of us there have the option of choosing to go into massive debt and NOT getting terrible care. Here... terrible care, with a long long wait, appears to be the only alternative. Someone should publish a list of where Swedish doctors get their treatment. I wonder how many of them dare to go to Skåne UH. I dread the day when something serious happens to me or my family.
11:45 July 3, 2012 by e_life
I am always amazing how resilient babies are........they always pull through against all odds..... I think we sometimes take it for granted that they really are a miracle :) .
12:56 July 3, 2012 by cogito
Why does it take 5-6 weeks to get the lab results from a biopsy for suspected cancers.?

In the USA, France and most other countries, the lab results are returned within a day or two.

And, before the Sweden apologists trot out the tired old "summer holidays" excuse... the wait is just as long year round.
13:18 July 3, 2012 by skogsbo
Cog, I know this defintely varies from place to place. Last autumn I had swollen lymph glands in the groin, which I thought was a persistant groin strain, went to doctors (yes I had to pay :) ), they booked me an hospital appointment ( i had to pay again) that afternoon / evening, it was by then 3 or 4 pm. I was told not to eat anything. Got to hospital(an hours drive away) they took several blood tests and I was told to wait, as they wanted to test for many things including lymphoma/leukaemia, which depending on what they found - they might operate that night to remove the gland. I waited about 2 hours (nil by mouth) and thankfully the tests came back negative. So perhaps for every horror story that makes the news, there could be 1000s of happy satisfied customers who don't bother writing to the newspapers?
13:43 July 3, 2012 by RobinHood
In hospitals everywhere people make tragic mistakes, just the same way they do everywhere else. They drop things, forget things, trip over, and make bad decisions. They do these things in and out of the holiday seasons, day and night, week days and weekends.

Despite the opinion of some people here, hospital staff are made of mere flesh and blood; just like all the rest of us. Untill hospital staff are replaced with infallible machines, I'm afraid we are all just going to have to live with the inevitible fact that people occasionally drop things; even babies.
17:05 July 3, 2012 by cogito
sgogsbo,

Of course it is good that you received immediate attention. But I'm guessing you are in the favored demographic: male? white? age 30-45?

Care varies not only from place to place, but also from male to female, white to non-white, young to old....

@RobinHood,

There are far too many tragic mistakes in Sweden (though admittedly, not this case). And I do not think Oops-We're-Only-Human is an acceptable response.
17:39 July 3, 2012 by Swedishmyth
cogito: "Why does it take 5-6 weeks to get the lab results from a biopsy for suspected cancers.? In the USA, France and most other countries, the lab results are returned within a day or two."

Price controls lead to rationing. A market normally uses price to balance supply and demand; higher demand and/or lower supply leads to higher prices, which serve to prevent shortages. If the price of a good or service is forcedly set too low (which can only be done by government), it will increase demand beyond what the supply can offer. That's why the price was "high" to begin with, but whenever a politician sees a problem, they think it can be legislated out of existence.

Furthermore, the supply of physicians in Sweden is artificially restricted by public control of education and successful lobbying to reduce available slots in college medical programs.
20:23 July 3, 2012 by cupidcub
Confidence in Swedish Healthcare System ? I would say people would get way better healthcare if they close down all the hospitals and vardcentrals.

This drop like for an premature infant may cause huge trouble for the kid. If he is hit in the head, this may cause several paralysis including vision, hearing and speech. And some people saying this is not 'newsworthy'. I hope nobody drops your baby until you realize that is it 'newsworthy' or not.

Even medical services in very poor third world countries are way better than Sweden. Unlike Sweden, when somebody goes to the emergency they are attended right away.
21:21 July 3, 2012 by Radhus
I believe the dropping of this baby was an accident, but the staff handling the situation still should have known better. The parents should be given compensation for pain and suffering, but knowing Sweden I bet they'll get nothing.

I hope the little darling will be okay and I feel sorry for the parents that they had to witness it. Having a baby born 10 weeks early is hard enough to go through.

I doubt this was a result of being understaffed, but one thing I've never understood about Sweden is why most people take their anual vacation at the same time of the year, i.e. July. Everything just either slows down or shuts completely. I know there's only a short time of the year when the weather is actually real warm in Sweden, so why can't employees take it in turns each year? That's what they do where I'm from. In a business setting or government office of something, for example, one employee from each department would go on holidays in the summer one year, but they wouldn't be able to go same time the following year, they would have to go at another time of the year. But here, it's not unusual to find cafés or shops closed in the middle of the city for the whole month of July. I don't know of any other country that does that. There's always the possibility for Swedes to travel to warm countries such as Turkey, Spain or Italy during other times of the year and the weather is still warm in those places.
21:41 July 3, 2012 by johan rebel
Understaffed? How many hands does it take to hold a baby?

One of the wonderful features of Swedish health care is that staff vacations have priority over patient care. Understaffing can be avoided by not allowing half the employees to go on vacation simultaneously.

Anybody who wants to become a nurse, doctor, cop or figherfighter knows that they will be working in a profession that provides emergency services to the publc 24/7, even in summer and over Christmas. They should therefore expect the taxpayers' right to care to take precedence over their vacation preferences. That's how it works in other countries, but not in Sweden.
22:56 July 3, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Unfortunately accidents happen. There isn't a parent out there that hasn't dropped their child at some point in their lives. The hospital is taken the extra precautions to make sure the child has no internal injuries.
02:50 July 4, 2012 by Grokh
understaffed clearly a reason for dropping a premature baby , specially because it takes over 10 people to hold one
13:59 July 5, 2012 by delfinita
I had a medical condition poorly handled in two countries. One with private healthcare and the other one with public. Both disappointing to the same level. Finally i found a doctor that genuinely cared, from the public sector and i am good with that. Could have been in the private, i dont care, as long as i am cared for.

There are options in Sweden. You can get private insurance on top of your normal Social Security. What one doesnt cover, gets covered by the other one.
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