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Swedish medical errors prove ever more costly

TT/The Local/dl · 4 Jan 2011, 09:29

Published: 04 Jan 2011 09:29 GMT+01:00

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Every day, 28 Swedes receive economic compensation for injuries suffered due to medical errors, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports. And the costs of such claims is rising.

Drawing on statistics from the Swedish Patient Insurance Scheme (Landstingens Ömsesidiga Försäkringsbolag – Löf), DN found that the cost of compensation claims due to medical errors has risen from 231 million ($34.2 million) to 420 million kronor ($62.5 million) between 2000 and 2010.

Mixed up test results, injuries suffered during childbirth, infections following surgery, and incorrect drug dosages are just a few of the medical errors that reveal it can be harmful to a patient’s health to end up at a Swedish hospital.

The most common types of injuries for which patients receive economic compensation are orthopedic injures such as broken bones which don’t heal properly. The next most common claims are surgical errors.

“Nerves which are cut,” Swedish Patient Insurance Scheme claims manager Jan Adrups told the TT news agency.

Another common mistake for which patients are compensated are infections, he added.

However, Adrups added that much of the cost increase over the last ten years is likely due to inflation.

And rule changes which went into effect at the start of the year are expected to result in a further rise in complaints.

“We’re expected a certain increase by the end of the year,” Adrups told TT.

Many cases which currently go unreported may come to light under the new system, which requires that patients are always informed about their fight to file a complaint and seek compensation, Adrup explained.

Previously, doctors and nurses who committed medical errors received a warning from the Swedish Medical Responsibility Board (Hälso- och sjukvårdens ansvarsnämnd – HSAN).

The new system will attempt to explore why mistakes took place rather than issuing warnings and removing the risk of being shamed by one’s colleagues is expected to result in more mistakes coming to light.

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However, managers at HSAN have criticised the rule changes, which now places the responsibility for investigating medical error claims with the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), for further removing medical professionals from personal responsibility for their errors.

But healthcare unions believe the changes will help improve patient safety, as do representatives from the health board.

“It’s clearly better when a patient doesn’t have to point to exactly who made a mistake. It’s enough to report the injury, than we can look into the cause,” health board oversight head Per-Anders Sunesson told DN.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:37 January 4, 2011 by johnny1939
res ipsa loquitor
12:42 January 4, 2011 by einsteins monkey
"Another common mistake for which patients are compensated are infections, he added."

Beware of infections caused by TICKS!

14:13 January 4, 2011 by HowSwedeitis
Clearly this is a problem that is being addressed.

16:24 January 4, 2011 by Antonito
I do not know any single family not having a member who is or has been suffering due to medical errors. Doctors (I do not mean all...and I do not refer to Swedish doctors in particular) believe are untouchable and have developed a lot of explanations to cover their own mistakes (i.e. about a non-planned estirpation/amputation, etc: "during the operation we discovered that that part was also complicated"....who is going to prove that?). Another problem to track irresponsible procedures is that doctors are reluctant to declare agrainst their colleagues. I particularly think that the problem relies, in part, on the lack of passion for service the doctors use to have in the old times.
18:10 January 4, 2011 by glamelixir
Antonito, come to Argentina. Here, if it wouldn't be for the doctor's passion public health care wouldn't exist.

Sweden needs a bit of that.
08:44 January 5, 2011 by f_delacolina
Yes, i am Argentinean too. Have even a friend who is a doctor in Argentina and now is living and practicing in the U.S. He cant believe why, with all the investment there is, doctors can still make a mistake. Back home they treat you without any machine, even without a good salary. Nurses work just out of passion. I incredible how bad Swedish medicine is. I believe is not the system but that Swedish mentality that everything works in Sweden. I hope nothing happens to me or, if it does, to be able to go back home for treatment.
11:56 January 5, 2011 by kenny8076
ive been trying to tell all these people on here and in Sweden that always slam the US for paying for insurance to doctors visits.... YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR in todays societys..... i have heard NOTHING but bad things about hospitals here, both from people and from the news....... you all keep paying crazy taxes for mediocre dr.s, ill pay my $80 a month for world class care.
14:36 January 5, 2011 by flintis
@kenny8076:- I don't mind paying the taxes if the money is used correctly. If they shut the doors, closed down all the refugee camps & migrationsverket, the health service could have loads of money.
22:34 January 28, 2011 by dan_sparrow
fintis, in some countries the money doesnt make the doctor

its not about having the top notch technology to operate with, its about being profesionnal

swedish doctors are not, and foreign doctors are rejected, u would freak out if u hear how many doctors from other countries are driving taxis in sweden...

for the ones from argentina, ure right, at least there its passion what it makes a good doctor, but sometimes not always, favaloro always fought agaisnt that
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