Doctor accused of murdering child

A female doctor in Stockholm has been detained on suspicion of murder for the alleged mercy killing of a baby girl.

According to unconfirmed reports published in newspaper Aftonbladet, the girl suffered brain damage during a previous hospital visit. The suspect, who works at the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, is alleged to have later taken the girl’s life in a bid to curtail her suffering.

Prosecutor Elisabeth Brandt confirmed that the woman had been detained but was reluctant to reveal any details about the case.

“We began a preliminary investigation into murder or, alternatively, manslaughter, in September 2008,” she told news agency TT.

Brandt added that she would decide by midday on Thursday whether to request a remand hearing.

The pediatrician’s lawyer, Björn Hurtig, said his client was devastated by the allegations.

“She was shocked to say the least, and is completely distraught. She’s doing really badly. This is a woman who has dedicated her life to saving children. To then have this thrown in your face I’d imagine would come as a serious blow to just about anybody,” he told TT.

Hurtig is also critical of the prosecutor’s handling of the case.

“To seize someone at their place of work and take them out in front of all their colleagues, put them in a cell for two days and not even tell them what they’ve done – I think it’s appalling and it also runs counter to the rules that apply,” he said.

The police only told Hurtig’s client that she had “done something terrible”, according to the lawyer. He added that both he and the pediatrician were not given any details and were only informed that she was accused of murder or manslaughter.

But prosecutor Elisabeth Brandt denied violating any rules.

“He [Hurtig] can say what he likes. I don’t agree with him,” she said.