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Swedish midwife re-used needle from HIV patient

TT/The Local/pvs · 17 Feb 2011, 10:33

Published: 17 Feb 2011 10:33 GMT+01:00

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The incident occurred in June 2010 when the two women had given birth to their children by caesarian section.

The midwife immediately realised her mistake and contacted the duty physician who in consultation with a specialist, placed the woman on a course of anti-viral medicines to combat any infection.

She was also told not to breastfeed her child.

The woman was given an HIV test and when the results were returned several months later, it was concluded that she had not been infected with HIV.

The incident was duly reported by the hospital to the Swedish Health and Welfare Board (Socialstyrelsen) who concluded that the ward had not followed existing guidelines.

The hospital has since notified that it made immediate changes to its routines after the incident to ensure that used needles are disposed of immediately after use.

Story continues below…

The board has instructed the hospital to submit a report regarding its needle management routines.

The report is to be filed by March 18th.

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

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Your comments about this article

11:32 February 17, 2011 by Nilspet
Nice to hear that she was not infected. It would otherwise have been a disaster for her.

I hope she is going to get compensation for the unacceptable mistake.

Yes ... a better routine is needed.
11:34 February 17, 2011 by Irish_Immigrant
Sue the bastards
11:48 February 17, 2011 by calebian22
"...to ensure that used needles are disposed of immediately after use."

Nice to see this hospital catching up with common medical knowledge everywhere else in the world.
11:53 February 17, 2011 by Ben5
What is that???!!! Even the drug addicts know that you should not use the same needle twice....
12:14 February 17, 2011 by RobinHood
At least the midwife owned up to her mistake. She may well lose her job and her nursing licence, and probably deserves to to so. She could easily have just covered it up and got on with her life, but she did the right thing, and she will have to bear the consequences of her mistake and her honesty..

Some of the posters here have obviously haven't yet made a potentially disastrous mistake at work before. When they do (and they will), I hope they handle it as honestly and responsibly as this midwife did.

It's a shame this nurse's values aren't shared by a few more people that get reported on here at The Local from time to time.
12:59 February 17, 2011 by JulieLou40
The midwife should have been sacked, no question. And @ robinhood: I don't know how you can lecture people about "when they make mistakes" at work-you'd have to go a long way to find a mistake as stupid and incompetent and potentially lethal as the one that midwife made. Yes, it's good that the lady wasn't infected, but she has still been traumatised and prevented from breastfeeding her child just when she should have been revelling in life as a new mum. She's never going to forget that, is she?

I wouldn't mind betting you ARE the midwife!!
13:33 February 17, 2011 by engagebrain
RobinHood makes a very good point, the midwife immediately admitted the mistake, made no effort to cover it up and avoid/postpone serious trouble -showing that the mother and child were her/his primary concern.

The article also says that the inquiry concluded that the ward, not just the midwife, had failed to follow existing guidelines.

Show the midwife a little sympathy and hope you never make a mistake.
14:01 February 17, 2011 by RobinHood

Every one of us puts our lives in the hands of ourselves and others every time we step out the door. It is only by the grace of God we make it back again without hurting ourselves or someone else, and even then, some of us won't.

You have clearly won the lottery of life so far, and misfortune has not yet fallen on you, and your own misfortunes have not yet fallen on anyone else. Unfortunately that won't always be the case. When your turn comes, I hope you will spare a thought for this poor nurse who made a terrible mistake and then did the right thing.

I am not a midwife, but have the greatest of respect for those who are, and for any one else who risks their dignity, their career and their sanity by agreeing to do a very difficult thing in very difficult circumstances, for very poor pay, even though the chances of making a terrible mistake with terrible consequences are far greater than for most of us who chose less demanding professions.
14:35 February 17, 2011 by Already in use
I agree with RobinHood. The midwife made a mistake, but she did the right thing not trying to hide it. Firing her is definitely not the thing to do. Just think about the message that it would clearly send: if you make a mistake and admit it, you'll get fired. Everybody makes mistakes. Where would that leave us?

And no, I'm not a midwife. I was pregnant last year and treated at Karolinska too...
16:18 February 17, 2011 by StockholmSam
I'll give props to the midwife for stepping up and admitting her mistake. Most people would not have the guts or ethics to do that. Don't fire her, keep her on...she won't make the same mistake (or any mistake like it) again. And as Already in use said above, what message would that send if you fire the honest worker. Everyone screws up.
16:48 February 17, 2011 by nyh2o
she did the right thing by admitting her mistake but that still does not make it acceptable and forgivable. Sue and fire her. She could train in something that requires less descipline. ICA cash person perhaps.
17:17 February 17, 2011 by lel
I agree with Robinhood, Stockholmsam et al. We all make mistakes which may have repercussions on others or ourselves. The midwife showed integrity and professionalism in immediately owning up to her mistake. Don't fire her, keep her. I do have sympathy for the mother in question and what she has missed out on. "Sue the bastards" does not achieve anything. My sister-in-law nearly died in the UK some years ago when a much more deliberate failure in judgment occurred and she lost twins at 20 weeks. She was offered the chance to document the experience and complain. As she result, hospital and medical procedures were changed potentially saving the lives of other patients.
18:28 February 17, 2011 by NoVaseline
i also agree with Robinhood. There's no vaseline!
21:44 February 17, 2011 by zooeden
Sure was a terrible accident, but you know what, it´s also 50% fault from the hospitals in all Sweden who have tired and few personell. But since hiring medical staff seems not to be prioritized then this types of mistakes would be happening AND are happening more often... That´s the only fault for the moderaterna... well, kind of!!!
21:44 February 17, 2011 by johnny1939
You should not share anything between patients!!!!! Except your washed and gloved hands. Please change gloves between patients too. Actually, the patient, if possible, should ask anybody that touches them to change gloves in front of them.
22:04 February 17, 2011 by netrider
I wonder how many of the compassionate citizens, who sympathize with 'mistake' the mid-wife made, question whether others have never made a mistake and note her high integrity, would do so if this happened to themselves or their loved ones!
23:51 February 17, 2011 by YaYo
actually, netrider, i d rather a person did admit to a mistake so i can be helped quickly. i d rather, they admit what they have done than try to cover up their mistake. if the woman HAD had been HIV positive as a consequence but hadnt found out she might have given it to her baby, to her husband and any other potential offspring.

a cover-up could have been fatal not just to herself but many others, especially because it could potentially haven taken years before she would have found out.

i really dont know why people dont see it as positive that she owned up. thank the great spaghetti monster for people like her!

@nyh2o: so according to you, everybody who makes a mistake should work for ica? good for you that you work in customer services or something equally serious. reality check fail...
01:21 February 18, 2011 by voiceofreason
I made a costly mistake at work once and I wanted to resign as a result but then my boss said that I would be denying them a chance to learn from my mistake and might repeat it in the future.

I am happy the midwife reported her mistake and the hospital board is reviewing its needle policy.
02:31 February 18, 2011 by positiveguy
I am a 29 year old guy who found out been HIV positive since '97. I like everyone around me, saw this as a death sentence. I have come to learn that is not true after I joined pozmingle.com, The HIV counselor here tell me that HIV is not something people can nor should they go through alone. You need people to win this fight, whether it's family, friends or a support group, people are the key.
18:52 February 19, 2011 by omash kavash
hehe its scary men the woman should be fired thats un acceptable
19:58 February 25, 2011 by chloe1023
I have Hiv and know what you are going through. Hiv Dating Site has helped me find quality dates with women who share my medical condition. www.Pozspaces,com is the largest Hiv dating site online. thousands upon thousands genital hiv singles from the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia are members
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