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Agency to probe doc who broke baby's collarbone

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Agency to probe doc who broke baby's collarbone
07:47 CET+01:00
A doctor in central Sweden, who broke the collarbone of an infant during a 55 hour long delivery after using the ventouse nine times, is being investigated by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

“We have come to the conclusion that what happened is serious enough for the physician to be investigated further,” said Eva Forsberg at the agency to daily Aftonbladet.

In May last year, the young Swedish couple Johanna Svensson and Alfred Svärd from Eksjö in northern Sweden lost their daughter Hilda after a 55-hour ordeal, during which the specialist doctor refused to perform a caesarean against the expectant mother's pleas.

“I begged and begged for him to give me a c-section. I was so tired and had no more strength and my uterus had collapsed. My partner said that I was exhausted. But the doctor just said that ‘all women can give birth naturally',” said Svensson to the paper.

The delivery, which dragged on for 55 hours, was a nightmare affair. The nurses were crying, the midwife was urging the doctor to perform the caesarean and the doctor had already injured the unborn baby by breaking her collarbone, according to the paper.

A junior doctor had early on made the call that this was not the right time to use a ventouse – a vacuum device used to assist in deliveries when the second stage of labour has not progressed adequately – yet the specialist thought otherwise.

And tried using the device nine times before giving up.

The couple's infant Hilda died in the ordeal and Johanna was seriously injured and had to be rushed to another operation where she underwent a massive blood transfusion.

The hospital reported the incident to the National Board of Health and Welfare, according to Lex Maria, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

At the hospital, officials think that the responsibility lay with the doctor who “acted outside the guidelines of the hospital”. The doctor, however, remains adamant he did nothing wrong.

Svensson and Svärd, pregnant again, are hoping that the physician will lose his licence and say that they are relieved by the new decision from the National Board of Health and Welfare to investigate further.

“That is what we have said from the beginning. But he has refused to admit he was wrong. There is no punishment severe enough to compare to the suffering we are going though and will carry with us for the rest of our lives,” Svensson told Aftonbladet.

According to the paper the incident has also been reported to the police and prosecutor. The police classify the case as suspected manslaughter and causing of bodily harm.

“We have begun the preliminary investigation. I will decide what measures will be taken and how the police can proceed with the information we have received,” said prosecutor Stefan Edwardsson to Aftonbladet.

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