• Sweden's news in English

Swedish clinic sterilises wrong patient

David Landes · 30 Jun 2009, 17:55

Published: 30 Jun 2009 17:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

According to a complaint filed with the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), a patient came to the clinic on the afternoon of June 22nd to have a biopsy performed on his prostate.

But doctors and nurses at the urology and gynecology clinic neglected to double check the identity of the patient who thought he was leaving a tissue sample.

Instead of carrying out the scheduled biopsy, doctors performed a vasectomy on the man – the procedure scheduled for the day’s next patient.

Officials with the health board will now review the complaint to determine what, if any, sanctions may be issued.

Story continues below…

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:08 June 30, 2009 by Marley420
HaHaHa, just you just love and trust Sweden's medical care. Nothing will happen to these Doctors. Everyone is on eternal semester.
19:27 June 30, 2009 by Rap43
Prostate... Vasectomy... pretty different parts.

Proves how necessary sex education is in Sweden.
19:38 June 30, 2009 by bolababu
Don't really know whats gone wrong with this world, gone are the days when people bothered about accountability and responsibility. Life definitely was much better up till two decades ago. Today, people just do what they like in the name of freedom and right. No one takes their jobs or responsibility serious anymore because they're protected by some stupid law that prevents them from being properly chastized both as children and as adults. I guess the best way to describe civilization would be "lots of freedom, too many rights and absolute lack of respect and compassion for others.
19:52 June 30, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Isn't this a case of medical malpractice? It would be in my country. If this was the USA especially, the doctors would have their asses sued in legal court.
20:15 June 30, 2009 by Harding00
Oh, I bet the man will try to sue, and even if he wins, which I doubt he would, he would only receive about 10,000 kronor, just over $1,000. Oh and don't forget he'll get a pat on the back, and an apology (but probably not from the doctor who screwed up).
21:32 June 30, 2009 by bigmikey
What they did was very wrong, but reversible. Shouldn't they focus on correcting the mistake and preventing further mistakes?

The doctor should have verified the patient and procedure, but the patient is also involved in this step. I care enough about my frank and beans to listen when the doctor discusses bringing sharp objects around that region.

An apology from the doctor and the staff would be the right thing to do.
00:19 July 1, 2009 by swedenlover
I beg your pardon? How can you blame the victim when he hasn't the vaguest idea how a hospital operates to begin with, and especially if he's about to be operated on and is sedated at best or completely asleep at the time?
04:38 July 1, 2009 by Jeffi
An apology from the doctor and staff is NOT sufficient. An ABJECT apology might be a good place to start, along with compensation for the destruction of this man's ability to father children and for his pain, suffering and anguish. Imagine the loss of confidence in your doctor is this happened to you... shrug it off with an "Oops! You silly doctor!" and a giggle? I hardly think so.

And while vasectomies are reversible, surely, undoing it does not mean it will be successful in restoring natural functions and the ability to procreate. Very few of them are "reversible".
07:44 July 1, 2009 by voiceofreason
Vasectomy is irreversible. There should be no reason why the wrong person is sterilised given that this is an error that cannot be corrected.

I hope the victim is an old man with children.
07:47 July 1, 2009 by Russ Cobleigh
when you have a country that has no-fault insurance for its doctors, you can not do anything. It took me three years to find out what was wrong with me. I was told everything from I had KÅL (copd) to asthma to I was allergic to my dog and finally...there was nothing wrong with me and it was all in my head. I ended up needing open heart surgery to repair a valve and having a pacemaker put in. The doctors here in sweden can do whatever or say whatever they want and nothing comes of it.
09:52 July 1, 2009 by Tennin
Sweden needs to make a law that holds medical staff (nurses, doctors, etc.) accountable for their actions or lack of. I'm really shocked to hear how many hospital horror stories go on here, and the patients pretty much aren't compensated for.

The medical staff should be given a penalty of some kind, and also should have to pay to get the problem fixed, and also give a nice compenstation fee to the victim. I feel really sorry for the guy. It would be really horrible if they aren't able to reverse the vasectomy.
11:12 July 1, 2009 by SaltWater
"Officials with the health board will now review the complaint to determine what, if any, sanctions may be issued." - About things in USA, you don't even have a real health System, you just have Health Stores! This things happen in every profession, of course medical staff must be responsible for their errors. but we can't start to call murders or call bad practice for one mistake that we don't even know why and how happen! It must be an investigation, and of course the patient should be compensated, restoring his correct function and in other possible ways.
11:18 July 1, 2009 by glamelixir
I am horrified of Swedish hospital stories also. I still have my medical insurence in my homeland and I go and check there every year for dental care, gynecologist and general studies.

Unfortunetly I don't trust Sweden for those things.
11:41 July 1, 2009 by 7
it's sad that ignorance and fear could keep people away from healthcare they need and are entitled to. on the other hand, it's great that my tax money doesn't spend on paying for people's healthcare that they get taken care of in another country.

mistakes and malpractice occur everywhere. i've had fabulous care in sweden. but i've also had some crap care...kind of like what i experienced for care in the US.
11:52 July 1, 2009 by Aneud

Well see bellow. Russ is spot on, sadly.

This is one of the things I am most irate with when it comes to Sweden. It's one of those issues that far surpasses the long winter or the persistence in keeping state commercial monopolies. It is in fact wrong on many levels but at the risk of stating the obvious, it kills people -and I am not saying this lightly or from hear-say- It also teaches a very very sad lesson in personal responsibility or rather, the very blatant lack of it.
15:45 July 1, 2009 by Amerikat
Those doctors love the "allergic to animals" line. All of my kids' cousins ,Swedes, have been diagnosed as this. Socialized medicine is a trainwreck but with so many unpaid benefactors, it will just continue out of control for the next generation.
16:29 July 1, 2009 by Kieruk
Just for those of you blowing off withour checking the facts...


Vasectomy IS reversable.

Still would be rather shocking that it can happen...might save some condom money for a while though...!
17:37 July 1, 2009 by vladd777
On the cheerful side..assuming he is a young man..at least his wife/partner/girlfriend...assuming he is 'straight'... gets to avoid needing p-pills or having abortion/s should family planning or no kids be on the menu.
18:02 July 1, 2009 by Aneud
Guys none of that is funny. Seriously, I know you're boys and anything to do with a willy is funny by default -although I thought that stopped at the age of 6- but losing one's reproductive capacity is no joking matter.
18:11 July 1, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Oh Anued, why the mamma hen stance? I don't think any man needs the seriousness of his virility explaining to him.

Without wishing to speak for these chaps or put words in their mouths I'm guessing it's gallows humour, and a case of "there but for the grace of god/fate go I".
22:23 July 5, 2009 by Coalbanks
Prostate exams are as I understand usually done via the anus, so why didn't the patient say anything when they injected the anesthetic into his testes? If he's that clueless maybe loss of reproductive ability is not such a bad thing .
16:30 July 10, 2009 by BUSHGIRLSGONEWILD
At least the patient made it to the doctor; here in the U.S., people bleed to death in the Emergency Rooms waiting hours to be treated.
19:03 July 13, 2009 by conboy
Things could be worse at a private hospital in New York during the late 80's two patients were placed into the same room as both were to be operated on the same day. However the patients charts and boards were switched and to cut a long story short, the lad who was due for a bollock removal (cancer) got a vasectomy and the lad who was due for the vasectomy had a bollock removed which only goes to show that massive litigation is not always a deterrent.
04:21 July 31, 2009 by Hedley
Although, my country laws are not applied in Sweden, according Panamanian

Penal code (May 2007) in its article 136 numeral 6 says: "The punishment will be 4-6 years whether an injury produces: 6-Impotency or failure to procreate".

I think that stuff must exist in Sweden.
Today's headlines
Gothenburg 'one of Europe's most segregated cities'
An Isis flag in Kirkuk, Iraq. Photo: Uncredited/AP

One in ten school students in Gothenburg's north-eastern suburbs sympathize with religious extremist organizations, according to a survey.

Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the funeral of his mentor.

Swedish football diehard who went viral doesn't get the fuss
Possibly the most dedicated fan in the world. Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

A picture of Gefle IF celebrating with the only fan to make a 1164km round trip to see them has gone viral. The Local spoke to the diehard in question.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
Antonio, 19, is a Syrian refugee and porn actor hoping to change perceptions of refugees
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 26th
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available