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Swedish doc to face trial over baby's death

TT/The Local/rm · 22 Mar 2011, 17:34

Published: 22 Mar 2011 17:34 GMT+01:00

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Following the announcement defence lawyer Björn Hurtig said he would take it up with the Swedish prosecutor-general. His client is reportedly devastated by the news.

The three-month-old baby was terminally ill with serious brain damage after having been born 15 weeks premature. The birth was complicated and the baby was born unconscious due to a lack of oxygen.

The doctor was charged with manslaughter following the suspicion of deliberately having administered a high dose of the anaesthetic Pentothal in combination with morphine, in order to speed up the baby's death.

The baby girl's condition worsened when a nurse administered an overdose of saline solution at birth.

A subsequent ultrasound revealed that the newborn had suffered from cerebral haemorrhaging on both sides of her brain.

The case generated a heated debate in Sweden.

Medical colleagues and the unions criticized the police and prosecutors for their handling of the case following the public arrest of the doctor at her place of work in March 2009.

The doctor was subsequently released from custody after a successful appeal and denied any wrongdoing. She was suspended from her position at the hospital throughout the course of the investigation.

A report from Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) published in October 2009 cleared the doctor of any wrongdoing in connection with the baby's death.

Story continues below…

The board did however confirm the findings from an autopsy conducted on the baby, which found abnormally high levels of both Pentothal and morphine in the child's blood.

The board was at the time unable to explain the existence of the anaesthetic as its use was not mentioned anywhere in the medical records.

It is now up to the district court in Solna to set a trial date. Manslaughter carries a penalty of between six and ten years in prison in Sweden.

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

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Your comments about this article

18:33 March 22, 2011 by Frobobbles
I have looked into this case, and NO WAY is the doctor going to get sentenced. The prosecutor is an idiot and I hope soon fired.
18:44 March 22, 2011 by DAVID T
This is another complete waste of tax payers money - the poor Doctor - she's been through enough - seems like this idiot prosecuter is trying to make something stick for his own means - sounds a bit like the idiot who's trying tp prosecute Julian Assange
13:43 March 23, 2011 by krrodman
Comment: @David T &Frobobbles You have to stop thinking like humans beings, and start thinking like lawyers.

The medical record is a legal document that represents exactly in its entirety all of the work done on a patient. Here is the critical issue in this case: the child was given pentothal and morphine and neither medication was recorded in the medical record. In the normal course of events in a hospital, there are 3 steps to administering a medication to a patient: a doctor writes an order for the medication; the pharmacy provides the medication; and the nurse/doctor administers the medication. There should be documentation at each step to provide a continuous accounting of the medication. The very fact that there is no documentation for the administration of pentothal and morphine suggests that someone was circumventing the normal standards with the INTENT TO HIDE THE TRUTH. To a prosecutor that indicates that a crime has occurred.

There are other issues here. What was the medical indication for pentothal and morphine in this baby? Pentothal is a barbiturate that can be used to induce a medical coma. But, a barbiturate coma is a HUGE DEAL that would require coordination between multiple medical services, and would require the baby to be on a ventilator. A doctor just doesn't decide on a whim to induce a medical coma and administer pentothal. Not possible. The same applies for morphine. Morphine is for pain. How does a doctor assess pain in a moribund baby? Or put differently, if the baby were moribund, why was the baby given morphine? And, in large enough doses both morphine and pentothal suppress the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to cause death.

This doctor is in deep trouble.
01:46 March 24, 2011 by Da Goat
If there is no medical records then who did it (it was not me) she might walk!
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