Swedish hospital performed eye surgery on wrong woman

A 70-year-old Swedish woman who went to hospital for a cataract examination ended up having surgery on her eyelid by mistake.

“No one checked to make sure it was the right patient,” said chief physician Lars-Göran Holtby to the Arbetarbladet newspaper.

The woman was at the hospital in Gävle in eastern Sweden last summer after having cataract surgery on one of her eyes. Doctors scheduled the follow up to see if she might need surgery on her other eye.

But a series of oversights by hospital staff, combined with the woman’s impaired hearing, resulted in the 70-year-old going under the knife instead.

Upon coming to the hospital, the woman mistakenly believed she was set to have another operation, so when the nurse came to the waiting room and called a similar sounding name, the 70-year-old promptly stood up and followed the nurse into the operating room.

As she was being prepped for surgery, doctors told the woman she was going to have surgery on one of her eyelids. Since one of her eyelids was a little saggy, the 70-year-old was happy to go ahead with the operation.

But no one bothered to check the woman’s identity before the operation took place.

It was only later, when someone at the eye clinic reception made inquiries as to the woman’s whereabouts, that the mistake was discovered.

“That just can’t happen. In this case, there was no harm to the patient, but it’s potentially quite dangerous when patients are mixed up,” said Holtby.

Despite the mix up, the 70-year-old reports that she is satisfied with the operation.

Nevertheless, the incident has been reported to Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

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