Hospital probed as patient dies in wait of operation

Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg has come under steep criticism after a woman with a serious bowel condition died, having been forced to wait seven hours for emergency treatment.

At the time the elderly woman was admitted to the hospital, two operating rooms were occupied with surgeons carrying out a liver transplant and a blood vessel procedure.

Doctors diagnosed the woman with ileus, a blockage of the small or large intestine. But her condition was judged to be “relatively mild” and she was kept under observation.

As her condition progressively worsened, she underwent an operation seven hours after first being admitted to the hospital.

She died of organ failure a day after the operation took place. A so-called Lex Maria complaint was to filed in June 2008 and investigators have recently reported their findings.

Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) points to “shortfalls in communication and cooperation” at Sahlgrenska as well as “unclear or non-existent” routines.

Investigators also expressed their surprise that one of Sweden’s largest hospitals could only cope with two operations at a time.

The inquiry noted the hospital was under significant pressure when the woman was moved to the intensive care ward. Nineteen patients were being treated, almost doubling the ward’s ten-bed capacity.

According to Sahlgrenska medical chief Mats Tullberg, the hospital has now taken measures to expand its intensive care ward.

”And we have made it clear to all personnel that if a patient needs emergency treatment, a further operating room must be opened,” he told newspaper Göteborgs Posten while assuring that no future patients will be afforded the same fate.

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Sweden to stop calling transgender people ‘mentally ill’

Transgender people will no longer be classified as “mentally ill” in Sweden, the country’s main national health authority has announced, in a decision widely criticised as overdue.

Sweden to stop calling transgender people 'mentally ill'
An archive picture of Swedes protesting against classifying transgender people as mentally ill. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT
Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen, announced late on Friday that it would no longer automatically apply the diagnosis “gender dysphoria” to transgender patients.
“…more than anything, this change has an important symbolic value,” Kristina Bränd Persson, the organisation’s head, said in a press release. “This is a completely reasonable change. Many divisions and categories are obsolete. For us, the decision is uncontroversial. We tend to follow the changes the WHO makes.” 
The decision was widely ridiculed on Twitter.  
“At fucking bloody last!” tweeted Leo Ringqvist. “We are not ill, most of all mentally.”  

“Wake me! Is it 2017 or 1817,” complained Ewa-Maria Åström. 

The move follows a decision made by the World Health Organisation in October to remove the transsexualism classification from the chapter on mental illness in its diagnostic guide.  
“This is welcome but no surprise,” said Frida Sandegård, chairperson of RFSL, which lobbies for the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender people.  
Transgender people have complained of receiving unwelcome questions and stigmatising treatment when dealing with health professionals in Sweden. 
The agency said the change would not take place immediately, as it would first have to incorporate the decision into its own national version of ICD-10, the latest disease classification manual issued by the WHO. 
The work is expected to be completed this year.