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Health officials sent letters to dead children

TT/David Landes · 17 Nov 2009, 08:00

Published: 17 Nov 2009 08:00 GMT+01:00

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The letters were sent last week to around 100,000 households with children under seven-years-old reminding them to indicate their preference for a local paediatric clinic.

But due to a computer error, the forms for choosing a clinic were also sent to parents of around 300 children who had died.

“I was just dumbfounded. I was really frustrated,” Mattias Hansson, the father of a boy who died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 2006, told the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper.

Hans Johansson, head of the Västra Götaland region's implementation office, which is responsible for sending the letters as part of efforts to introduce more choice into the area healthcare system, blamed the mix up on a computer programming error.

He explained that the database from which the addresses were drawn includes all the region’s residents, regardless of whether they are alive or not.

“We missed it,” he told GP.

While Hansson and his wife Eleonor feel they have come a long way in coping with the death of their son, he thinks that health officials ought to do more to apologize for the mistake.

Story continues below…

“How is it for all those, perhaps singles, who just lost their only child? It’s careless of those responsible not to make contact with them. The least they could do is call, explain, and apologize,” Eleonor told the newspaper.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:13 November 17, 2009 by Keith #5083
Mistakes do happen, BUT, 'computer error, program error* and similar excuses do NOT wash. "all the regions residents,regardless of whether they are alive or not" stated Hans Johansson.

Just think about that for a moment. Just think about what has been said here by....the Health Authority!!! By that logic forms should also have been sent to anyone with children who had ever lived in the area.EVER.

This is a wholly inexcusable, lazy, amateurish and totally unnecessary 'botch-up'.

If you are going to do something, do it properly or not at all. The proper thing to happen here is for the staff of that dept. to personally contact by phone all parents - if those parents will speak to them! Maybe then the staff will have a better idea of the importance of such details in their work.

We cannot take away the pain felt by parents upon the loss of a child - but we can perhaps share it. For society has also lost a treasure.
11:30 November 17, 2009 by "green Swede"
very well said keith.
11:30 November 17, 2009 by Nemesis
I agree with Keith #5083

There is no excuse for this.

That is twisted.

Why is the details of dead children still on the computer records?

The parents should be contacted personally by the people repsonsible, not by annoymous letter.
12:21 November 17, 2009 by Skallywag
Yes very well said Keith #5083
12:49 November 17, 2009 by Rick Methven
"He explained that the database from which the addresses were drawn includes all the region's residents, regardless of whether they are alive or not."

So what is next? letters to deceased telling them to get the swine flu jab
19:45 November 17, 2009 by KamiZ
how distressing for parents who lost their children. these guys must be careful about what they do. "we missed it" doesn't sound like an apology to me.
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