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Swedish surgeon forgets swabs in sewn up mum

TT/The Local · 10 May 2009, 10:23

Published: 10 May 2009 10:23 GMT+02:00

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The doctor was cautioned by the public health disciplinary board (Hälsö- och sjukvårdens ansvarsnämnd - HSAN) for the oversight when stitching up the woman. A midwife at the hospital was also cited.

The new mum suffered infection and fever in the days after giving birth and approached the health services.

A first swab was then found and removed but the woman continued to suffer discomfort. A second swab was then located and removed 11 days later.

Neither the doctor nor the midwife have taken responsibility for the mistake. They both claim that the cloth swabs, used to dry away excess fluids, were forgotten as a result of a miscommunication.

Story continues below…

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:08 May 10, 2009 by trickyire
im so happy i did not give birth here in sweden. this is not just the first report of malpractice of doctors here. what kind of doctors are in sweden???? are they dumb? did they ever finish high school??? hahahha! just a thought!
12:23 May 10, 2009 by jacks
Little bit of miscommunication is usual to exist between doctors and midwives in Sweden that might potentially risk patient's' life.

HSAN has rights for issuing notices in an event when something wrong happens. Nothing more...
14:44 May 10, 2009 by margiemae
This has also Happened in USA that a women went in to have Surgery & a sponge was left in her stomach area, & was ill & never found out why she died till after they found a Sponge in her & got so infected. It has happened, & I believe Doctors should have more communcation with Nurses before sewing them up.
05:19 May 11, 2009 by Kaethar
@trickyire: Sweden is continually ranked as the (or one of the) best place/s in the world to give birth in.

10:57 May 11, 2009 by hilt_m
This happens a lot in operations, due to the nature of swabs they are very hard to see once soaked in blood, you are meant to do a count of everything that goes in and comes out but things get missed, lucky she complained about the pain and they found it.
13:19 May 11, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
This happens everywhere, and if you don't hear about these things in your home country it is probably not because it doesn't happen but because it is covered up.
15:19 May 12, 2009 by Morenikeji
Even though I believe that no one is above mistakes, including health providers, but the lackadaiscal attitude of many Swedish health providers is simply scandalous. This is not the first time this kind of negligence is happening at the same Sahlgrenska. Those who feel like defending the country's health institution can check it out! I'm curious to know how those who rate Sweden's health institution as one of the best arrive at their decision.
11:45 May 13, 2009 by skane refugee
Many (most?!) of the international ranking surveys faithfully reprinted in the press from time to time are commissioned by lobby groups targeting big country government decision makers on behalf of economically/politically motivated constituencies ...

I have academic friends who laugh at the surveys they work on to get a little additional cash in for their departments ... in the small print they insert loads of caveats and cautions (which are of course never reported ;o) ) in interpreting these results etc etc ... with alternative criteria weightings 'discussed' with the reports sponsors (i.e. the lobby groups funding the survey/report) until an agreed result/ranking is obtained ...

... they usually select and weight their criteria to put small irrelevant countries with high levels of government spending near the top, rival big country health systems somewhere in the middle, and their target big country healthcare system much lower than one would expect for their spending or GDP etc

The lobby group then spends more money on PR fees getting the survey results 'placed' in the national press in the target country, hoping to get international coverage thereafter to 'shame' the target government/health spenders into increasing overall healthcare spending or at least changing the mix of spending in the lobby groups favour

The 'payback' for the lobby group is that they may influence government spending and policy making at the margins in the target country to benefit the lobby group (be it pharmaceutical companies, healthcare equipment suppliers, hospital construction firms, health training suppliers, healthcare consultants groups, doctors organisations, nurses unions etc etc)

To sponsor an academic survey is surprisingly cheap (though means a lot to the academics receiving the money!!) ... and PR fees are basically just ex-journalists selling their contacts and calling in favours (maybe TSEK100 would easily cover several major papers) ...

A very marginal change in the spending mix in a target big country health system can benefit one lobby group or another by 100's of times their spending on academic sponsorship and PR placement

This is why there are so many of these surveys appearing all the time ... and why they are (quite rightly!) dismissed by sophisticated policy makers in target countries!!

Good for a laugh though ;o)
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