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Kids' eyes glued shut by Swedish docs

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Kids' eyes glued shut by Swedish docs
10:35 CET+01:00
Two small children who sought treatment for facial injuries at two different Swedish hospitals ended up having their eyes glued shut by mistake, with one toddler requiring emergency surgery to correct the error.

One incident involved a 22-month-old toddler whose parents had taken him to a hospital emergency room in Gothenburg in western Sweden after he had fallen and received a 1.5 centimetre-long gash on his forehead.

The attending physician treated the wound using a medical glue, some of which proceeded to trickle down from the injury.

“When it was over and [the doctor] seemed 'satisfied', we discovered that [our son] couldn't open his eye,” the parents wrote in a report filed with Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelesen) following the December 2011 incident.

“There was glue over his entire eyelid and under his eye!”

The doctor then stepped away to read the label on the glue packet he'd used to treat the toddler, and then left the room to consult colleagues about what to do.

“He came back into the room after a moment and said that the eye specialist at Mölndal's hospital wanted us to come immediately,” the complaint read.

The family then rushed to the specialist clinic where the boy was sedated in order to have his eye surgically opened.

During the roughly hour-long operation, doctors were required to remove most of the boy's eyelashes, leaving the toddler with “a lot of swelling around the eye for the next few days and a great deal of discomfort”.

In their report, the parents criticize the way the original doctor handled the incident.

“A little cut resulted in sedation, surgery - with all the risks it entails, and hospitalization in the eye clinic,” they wrote.

“This should never have happened.”

A similar incident took place in August 2011 in Västerbotten in northern Sweden when a 4-year-old had an eye glued shut in connection with treatment for a cut above the eyebrow.

“This can't happen. It's obviously awful for the child and the parents involved. The child thinks its going to be blind,” Ove Berglund, chief physician at the Västerbotten county council, to the Expressen newspaper.

Neither child suffered any long term injuries from the eye-gluing incidents, several more of which came to light following initial reports about the incidents in the Swedish press.

Both cases involved a water-based medical glue known as LiquiBand which dissolves over time.

According to Bergland, the problem wasn't the product, but the way it was used.

Speaking with the Dagens Nyhter (DN) newspaper, he explained that the hospital in Västerbotten has changed its procedures to ensure that patients in the future “can avoid these unpleasant situations”.

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