Doc freed in baby death case reports colleagues

The doctor who was cleared in the infant euthanasia case in October last year has reported her colleagues to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) for giving what turned out to be a fatal dose of the anesthetic thiopental to the prematurely born and brain damaged baby.

Doc freed in baby death case reports colleagues

According to the trade paper Läkartidningen, the woman has written in her report that several colleagues administered the drug to the baby without entering it in her medical notes.

It was the discovery of lethal levels of thiopental in the baby’s system that led to the suspicions against the doctor in the first place.

During the trial, a nurse testified that she has witnessed thiopental being administered to the little girl on two occasions and there are documents that indicate another two times she was given the drug, but this had not been entered into the baby’s medical chart.

The doctor also criticized the hospital in her report saying that she had previously brought the un-recorded doses to the attention of her superiors without them acting on it.

The case stems from the death of a 3-month-old infant girl at the Astrid Lindgren Children’s hospital in Stockholm in September 2008.

The girl was terminally ill and had serious brain damage after having been born 15 weeks prematurely. The birth was complicated and the baby was born unconscious due to a lack of oxygen.

In consultations with the parents, the girl was taken off life support on September 20th, 2008.

A month later, the girl’s parents filed a complaint with police alleging the newborn hadn’t received proper treatment after an autopsy revealed the infant had received abnormally high doses of thiopental.

During the trial, the parents said that the care their baby had received prior to her death was “beneath contempt”.

But in acquitting the doctor in October, the court said it could not be determined exactly how high a dose the baby had received, nor how the baby received the anaesthetic, and therefore the doctor could not be found guilty.

The Local/rm

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Swedish doc accuses police of misconduct

Police officers who investigated a doctor accused of the manslaughter of a baby at a Stockholm hospital last year are now themselves facing a misconduct probe over the way they handled the doctor after she was arrested.

Swedish doc accuses police of misconduct

The officers allegedly failed to tell the paediatrician of the nature of the accusations against her and acted in a threatening manner at the time of her arrest.

“One of them snapped at me saying that I should not act as though I didn’t know what it was about, after having done what I did,” she told the the Läkartidningen medical journal .

The three-month-old baby was born prematurely, unconscious and with serious brain damage, and died in September of 2008 shortly after her birth.

The paediatrician was then charged with manslaughter, suspected of deliberately having administered a high dose of the anaesthetic Pentothal in combination with morphine, in order to speed up the baby’s death.

A lengthy and complicated investigation started, and on October 21st 2011 the doctor was unanimously acquitted by the Solna District Court.

The doctor’s complaints have now been taken up by prosecutors.

Chief Prosecutor Håkan Roswall at the National Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) said to the journal that they are currently investigating the police on six specific points.

In addition to failing to inform her of the accusations and acting in a threatening matter, the doctor complained that police confiscated some of her belongings but never gave her an official list of the things they had appropriated.

She is also very critical of the way police and pathologists in the case have speculated publicly about medical treatments, how medical journals are kept and how specific drugs are administered, outside of their fields of expertise, which became evident from a tape which was released some time into the investigation, according to the journal.

If the police officers are found to be guilty of misconduct, they could face hefty fines or up to two years in prison.

Prosecutors say the volume of evidence – the case file runs to over a thousand pages – means it may take months to establish what charges, if any, can be made against the officers.