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Swedish doc sews up urethra after C-section

The Local · 17 Feb 2012, 11:46

Published: 17 Feb 2012 11:46 GMT+01:00

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”I felt terrible after the operation and told them this several times at the maternity ward. Among other things I had terrible back pain,” the woman wrote in her report to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

The baby had to be delivered by an emergency C-section and the mother's uterus burst during the procedure, forcing the surgeon to work on her for two hours after the delivery.

”I was awake and heard the doctor stitch and rip up, stitch and rip up, until he was certain he had sewn up the uterus the right way,” the woman wrote.

After the procedure the woman was plagued with severe back pain.

The nurses at the maternity ward told her it was connected to breast feeding, something the woman disagreed with, as it was not being her first child.

Despite the woman's complaints she was only given hot water bottles to help alleviate the pain and after a few days at the clinic she was sent home, despite having an elevated temperature.

”They said it was OK as long as I was feeling all right otherwise. I tried to say that I was in terrible pain, but they said that it wasn't so surprising after the operation I had been through,” the woman wrote.

Two days later she was admitted to the hospital again.

She was in excruciating pain and instead of the expected postpartum discharge, large amounts of clear fluid came rushing out of her.

She was given penicillin, but after a few more trips back and forth to the hospital, she saw a different doctor, who suspected damage to the urethra, saying that the clear liquid discharge could perhaps be urine.

It was impossible to predict the magnitude of the damage without opening her up again, and shortly thereafter, the woman went under the knife for a second time.

Upon awakening she was told that the first surgeon had stitched up her urethra by mistake at the previous procedure, causing large quantities of urine to leak out into her body.

After removing some of the urethra which was by now dead tissue, the surgeons were able to correct the mistake.

Story continues below…

The woman decided to report the incident to the National Board of Health and Welfare, saying that she felt as if the whole procedure had been handled badly and that no one had taken her seriously when she complained about the pain she was in.

Rebecca Martin


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:25 February 17, 2012 by StockholmSam
Such stories are becoming a daily occurence in Sweden. Doc should face a penalty of some sort, or perhaps some further training in differentiating the uterus from the urethra.
13:13 February 17, 2012 by DAVID T
all the good surgeons left Sweden to work abroad or have gone private as the pay here is terrible - what we are left with are 3rd world 3rd rate surgeons and this is what happens - You can't even sue the doctor or hospital in this country so these horror stories will carry on
14:28 February 17, 2012 by krrodman
Let's start from the beginning.

A ruptured uterus is a surgical emergency that is an acute threat to the life of both the mother and the baby. From the moment the uterus ruptures, the baby no longer receives any oxygen from the placenta. The abdominal cavity looks more like a traumatic battlefield injury with massive amounts of blood in the belly and a baby that is often floating free in the abdominal cavity having been ejected from the ruptured uterus. The uterus itself is a mess. Normally, a surgical incision in the uterus is a clean, straight line. In a ruptured uterus, the uterus has exploded, literally. It is a surgical nightmare to repair. And, injuries to surrounding tissues are not at all rare.

From the article I assume that both the mother and baby survived the ruptured uterus. Let's congratulate the OR team for a job well done. Many mothers, and many babies, have not survived a ruptured uterus.

That is where my praise begins, and ends. The bigger problem here is the post operative care. An injury to the urethra will cause a backup in urine, which will cause pressure on the kidneys(with back pain), and will cause a dramatic drop in kidney function which can be identified with a simple blood test. The staff, surgeon included, should have recognized that this was not a routine case and they should have suspected that back pain in this patient was something more than just postoperative pain.
15:03 February 17, 2012 by Gretchen
Not being taken seriously by doctors and nurses seems to be STANDARD in Sweden. Not so dramatic of course, but I have endless examples in my circle of friends and among my own family. What is it? The education of medical staff? Are they told to work most cost efficient by some higher authority? I wonder what it is??
15:46 February 17, 2012 by Tennin
I agree this is the standard here. I've personally had to deal with docs and nurses who didn't listen to me or take me seriously. I got told "we're the doctors or nurses we know what we're talking about." Boy were they completely wrong.

I feel for this lady, it's not fun being told that everything's ok when you know your body is telling you otherwise.
15:50 February 17, 2012 by strixy
Patients in Sweden should be able to sue hospitals for big fat pay outs. Sorry to say it but this is the only way to end this atrocious negligence and absolutely despicable approach - this woman was complaining and she was ignored!
16:01 February 17, 2012 by sparc
Although not a doctor myself, I have plenty of friends who are and work in Swedish hospitals. What they've told me is that hospitals in Stockholm (at least) are understaffed and they personally are overworked.

One of my friends, once won an argument with her supervisor by threatening to report the excessive amount of overtime they are asked (not forced though) to perform.

I'm not trying to give excuses rather point out that it is not always an issue of "bad doctors". In most cases I've seen people judging their professional skills just by their performance in speaking Swedish!
16:17 February 17, 2012 by Douglas Garner
Not ALL the good doctors have left Sweden! There are many dedicated and competent medical practioners here. Unfortunately, only the horror stories ever get reported. I do agree, though, that more penalties for bad performance are in necessary as a way to encourage good work and as a means of holding the whole Swedish medical system responsible for the quality of care instead of simply the cost of care!!!
16:30 February 17, 2012 by zooeden
Jeeeeeeeez, what is wrong with these doctors nowadays!!!!! please!!!!
18:03 February 17, 2012 by Youdee
What Douglas Garner said. Overall, my family and I have had top-notch care for the past 30 years, and we can count the number of idiots on one hand.
21:32 February 17, 2012 by Lavaux
@Youdee: You can count the number of idiots on one hand ... how many fingers are on it, given that it's been subject to socialized medicine for the past 30 years? Perhaps you should add the other hand, and some feet too.

Here's a hypothetical: The state has nationalized garages because automobile care is essential to society. Your car breaks down. Do you suppose you'll get better service from the mechanics now that you'll no longer have to "pay" for it?

You truly are a clueless lot, and a sewn-up urethra with a futile complaint to a bureaucracy stacked against you as your only recompense is your just deserts.
01:33 February 18, 2012 by johnny1939
The Swedish healthcare is wonderful compared with the British but of course that does not mean much. Look out USA here comes Obama care!!! We will all be in the same boat.
02:36 February 18, 2012 by Sushiw
Oh no it is not. The mentality and service minded kindness of a British nurse or dentist or doctor are not in league with Sweden. Sorry to offend. I have lived in sweden many years and recently returned to Scotland and England. Best not to compare. I would strongly advise again giving birth in any hospital these days in general through lack of simple good old fashioned common sense. Going the extra mile and helping when it isn't in your contract. They can't they might get in to trouble. Again "the educated ones" think they have total authority and the auxiluary is the one doing the work that really matters. That was my experience at least. The individual choice is dying out in Sweden. One size fits all or you are outside the box.
04:26 February 18, 2012 by VicTaulic
Is this that same guy who broke that baby's neck? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
07:05 February 18, 2012 by Ranjit T Edward
Why in heavens name is everyone making such a big fuss about this. This is Sweden!!!!!
13:49 February 18, 2012 by cogito
"The Swedish healthcare is wonderful compared with the British but of course that does not mean much."

@Johnny1939 #12

That's why so many Brits have moved to Sweden. They're fleeing the NHS (on which Obamacare is modeled).
17:15 February 18, 2012 by Kaethar
And here we go again. In fact, accidents like these happen all the time in every country. If medical mishaps is what your news outlet chooses to focus on because it sells (like The Local does) of course you're going to get a skewed view of the issue. There's a reason you shouldn't jump to conclusions based on sensationalist headlines. If you want to compare Swedish healthcare to that in other countries read official REPORTS about it.
20:33 February 18, 2012 by dizzymoe33
How about someone sow up his urethra and see how he feels after a few days of urine building up in his body!!! See what happens when no one is held ACCOUNTABLE for their own actions!!!
21:03 February 18, 2012 by slash_gordon
Am not surprised this has happened. I'm rarely taken seriously by doctors and nurses in the public system either. They're better (with an emphasis on better, still not like in other countries) in the private system but the private system doesn't cater for pre/post-natal care or dental.

I feel so sorry for this lady and I can understand her frustration. I was at the emergency department six times and local doctor twice for a problem I had and they kept saying it was just this, or just that. After the sixth time at emergency and still in unbelievable pain, I decided to fly home where I knew I would get care. My problem was found the first day I was in my home country and I was in "trouble" by a doctor who said I should have seeked help much earlier. He couldn't believe when I told him what I had already done in Sweden. He was surprised and thought Swedish healthcare had a good repuatation.
06:27 February 19, 2012 by johnoleson
I would like to call this third world medicine but the third world is starting to host some of the best doctors in the world due to cash paying customers.
19:49 February 19, 2012 by volvoman9
Owee owee owee!
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