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Man dies after doc takes lunch during kidney op

6 Sep 2012, 11:44

Published: 06 Sep 2012 11:44 GMT+02:00

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The incident, which took place at the Lidköping hospital, has prompted stinging criticism from Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

The 72-year-old went under anesthetic at 10.45am on the day of the operation, which took place in January 2011.

At noon sharp, the head anesthetist left the operating room to go for lunch. Fifteen minutes later, the head nurse anesthetist also left the patient and went for lunch.

No other anesthetist was called in to take over responsibility for the doctor who was on his lunch break.

And while another nurse was brought in to cover for the nurse anesthetist, the nurse who arrived came from the orthopedic ward and wasn't familiar with the respirator to which the 72-year-old was attached.

Suddenly, the patient started hemorrhaging and his blood pressure started to drop, sparking a "chaotic" situation.

As the patient's condition became critical shortly before 1pm, the substitute nurse tried desperately to reach the lunching anesthetist, but to no avail.

When the doctor and the primary nurse anesthetist returned to the operating room, they discovered that the patient's respirator had been turned off, leaving him without oxygen for approximately eight minutes.

Despite immediately starting resuscitation efforts, doctors were unable to revive the man, who had suffered irreparable brain damage and died several weeks later.

The man's daughter subsequently reported the incident to the health board, which on Tuesday issued a harsh critique of the hospital's procedures.

"The operational planning, which allowed for the responsible doctor and nurse to take lunch breaks at the same time without any other doctor taking responsibility for the patient, entails taking an unacceptable risk," the agency wrote in its findings.

Story continues below…

The agency also found fault with the fact that the doctor wasn't reachable by phone, as well as with the decision to hand responsibility for a high-risk patient with a single nurse who lacked sufficient knowledge of the equipment in use during the operation.

"The National Board of Health and Welfare finds, however, that the operation's lack of organization as well as the chaotic situation which occurred was the underlying causes behind the misjudgments and insufficient care," the agency wrote.

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Your comments about this article

12:09 September 6, 2012 by Keith #5083
"...the chaotic situation which occurred." I guess this is some sort of double-talk, an obvious statement which is sanitised to protect those who were the cause of 'the chaotic situation."

I guess the cause of the chaotic situation was the patient? After all, had he not been ill none of this would have happened.Huh?


At least tell us the name of these so-called professionals, so if we have to have them operate on us, we can take sandwiches for them!!!
12:13 September 6, 2012 by Abe L
It's a shame there is no such thing as responsibility in Sweden, otherwise the doctors could have been fired and prosecuted. Instead they will just get away with it and call it a mistake and repeat the same mistake at some point in the future.

"Stinging critcism" isn't good enough, these people need to be named so other people can avoid visiting this hospital or becoming a client of the same doctors. By not doing so they are jeopardising every potential patient.
12:14 September 6, 2012 by rise
Swedish health care - best there is in the world! We need to turn more money from the public services, health care included, down into the pockets of our politicians so they may be able to make even more smartly decisions. And increase the bonuses for our top chiefs as well. After all they're in sooo much responsibility and deserves their insanely high salaries. Fire even more people on the floor and employ more chiefs and rise their salaries as well. :P
12:19 September 6, 2012 by robban70226
Fika time and lunch are more important than somebody else's life.. That's the real Sweden..
12:26 September 6, 2012 by rise

Yes well I begin to see why so many foreigners are picturing Swedes as a cold people. I know I can be, however the case in this article seems to know no limits..!
12:26 September 6, 2012 by Svensksmith
Only when the politians have the same healthcare as the common man, will there be improvement.
12:54 September 6, 2012 by The Groke
Swedish health care is BOTTOM OF THE BARREL. I will die here one day at Fika stained hands.
13:50 September 6, 2012 by Borilla
I have to say that I have received nothing but top-notch care from the Swedish medical system, so far. That being said, given the regular reports in the media and on the blogs, I am sure the chief anesthetist and nurse will receive awards for their valiant attempts to revive the patient, the hospital will promise to look into things and everyone in the medical community will try to forget the incident. The physicians old-boy network will protect this guy. Has anyone ever heard the words "criminal negligence"? Where are the prosecutors when you need them? I know - fika.
14:51 September 6, 2012 by kinan
That's one of the reasons why i go to Riga every time i have to under go surgery !

I feel sorry for the old man who died because of pure irresponsibility !

by the way was he an immigrant ?
14:55 September 6, 2012 by cattie

The doctor's need for lunch is more important that an in-progress surgey

In most of the cases I heard about this summer, the doctor's need for a vacation was more important organ damage or a disabling illness that could have been easily prevented with timely treatment. In one instance, the nurse actually said with a straight-face, "Why are you in a hurry? What does it matter if she has wait for surgery (on her lungs so she can breathe). after all she is getting disability money from forsäkringskassan. " This was about the mother of two-year-old, she could not leave the hospital because she could not breathe. This is telling about the underlying assumption that people only want to be able-bodied to earn money. Which may be the only reason the STATE wants taxpayers to be able-bodied. Individuals may have other motivations for wanting to breathe.
15:05 September 6, 2012 by rise

Yes, it will be looked into what really happened. Then nothing will come of it. In Sweden too often things are kept at a splendidly fine academic level. That is: there is a countless amount of pointless "blah, blah" just for the sake of "blah" and just for making the appearance of someone actually doing anything. Oh, there will be suggestions on how to prevent things like in the article from happening again. But that is all it will ever come to, suggestions, cause then there's time for the fika...
16:52 September 6, 2012 by Strictly
This is a case of total negligence.
17:01 September 6, 2012 by susan see
Here in the U.S. patients are advised to always ask before surgery if the anesthesiologist will be present during the entire surgery and not to accept a nurse anesthetist. Different hospitals have different policies.
20:26 September 6, 2012 by Rex1
Could this be a union deal without ethical considerations?
20:36 September 6, 2012 by johan rebel
What did the doc and nurse have for lunch? Kidneys in cream?
23:03 September 6, 2012 by JMiller
While the situation is awful, the comments on here are more so - especially the missleading article title. Of course it's very "hipster" to hop on the hate Sweden train on the site, but the reality is much less shocking. The issue here is not that the head anesthetist went and got food (this detail is irrelevant - they left the room), the issue is that the nurse there for redundancy reasons left the room for an extended period. That was horribly wrong.

As for a "lunch break", I would want the people working on me to be properly hydrated and with proper blood-sugar levels. Of course not adding the "lunch" and missing out on invoking the anti-worker sentiment is way more popular. It's good to see people eating it up.
03:28 September 7, 2012 by InTheBubble
Swedish lunch: herring and mustard on Wasa bread. Hardly worth killing for.
04:37 September 7, 2012 by domij
Obamacare . . . coming to a hospital in your town soon.
06:02 September 7, 2012 by Maj.William Martin
Does anyone doubt why Assange didn't want to be in Sweden?
07:19 September 7, 2012 by DJ3
I hate to point this out, but I must. The doctor was relieved by the nurse anesthetist who then assumed responsibility for the care of the patient until he returned. When the nurse anesthetist left the room before the doctor returned, she (or he) was negligent in leaving the patient. The person who is more at fault in this instance is the nurse anesthetist. It is painful for me because I am a nurse anesthetist (in the US). I would never leave a patient unattended before the person I had relieved had returned, or at least until another provider could relieve me. No excuse!
07:20 September 7, 2012 by The Groke
@JMiller. Yeah, of course, we need to know how long the operation was. If ten hours, well - sure, they have to have breaks. If four hours... well... Swedes maybe need to rethink how many breaks they are taking at work, especially this type of work. And why were their phones off, and why was the replacement not trained. More issues were present than you allow for in your comment. But I can agree that The Local loves gaming everything they report (hah hah... did I just use "report" in the same sentence as "The Local"?) towards sensationalism. I suppose I'm just so happy to see someone making a stink about crappy Swedish healh care that I can look the other way. A sad scenario.

@Borilla. Please tell me where you have been going. I've been all over Skåne, and it is depressingly bad.
07:37 September 7, 2012 by DJ3
Susan See, that's just flat out bullshit. The vast majority of the time, the anesthesiologist (in a team setting) shows up as the patient is "put under" and then disappears to the doctor's lounge. The nurse anesthetist is the one who usually stays with the patient during the entire case. The anesthesiologist may make an appearance when the patient emerges from general anesthesia. In that case, the patient has the impression that the MD was present for the entire case. There are practice settings in which MD's work alone and there are plenty of places where CRNA's work alone (ie without an MD anesthesiologist).
09:03 September 7, 2012 by bluerain303
09:34 September 7, 2012 by cattie
#16 JMiller

You do not live in Sweden, do you? Nor are your or your loved ones under the umbrella of the Swedish medical system.

Anyone with international experience, who lives any significant amount of time in Sweden cannot help but notice the holes in the Swedish model. It is not managed well, and practitionioners are not held to appropriately level of accountability for mistakes.

Most comments from people living in Sweden are based on experiences of scores of people that would be deemed negligent elsewhere. The academic scholarship is skewed since those statistics are based on the figures released by the medical authorities, not "exit-polls" of patients, against an actual control group of docotrs. I know that the "true believers" do not want thei system to as so very flawed as it is. But it is. And pundits are not going to change the situation. And the situation is that people who paid very high social taxes their entire working life do not recieve the quality of care they were promised. It is not unusual to here people discussing in pubs and cafes someone who was disabled from lack of timely quality healthcare. The saddest part is most of these disabilities and sometimes deaths could have been easily avoided with proper triage and prompt care. It is not a question of limited money, loads of money could be saved if it were re-allocated from healing damage from slow/poor health care into prophylaxis and diagnositics. Damage awards with teeth against medical negligence could do wonders also.
10:16 September 7, 2012 by voiceofreason
Part of a doctors training is the ability to stand up during a very long surgery session.

A typical brain surgery for examble can last 18hrs.

If need be, they can take rotations.
10:33 September 7, 2012 by bryan73
You'll find many of the better Swedish doctors and nurses over in Norway where they make much more money. If you're into the idea of either paying more in taxes or cutting somewhere else, we can probably get them back here.

Having said that, my experience with the Swedish medial system has been great for my family and me. There will always be such bad examples and irresponsibility, even in Canada, France, or the U.S. These are the cases that receive coverage. Planes that land safely tend not to make the front page.
10:38 September 7, 2012 by Hisingen
One thing is for sure - they will form a committee to look into the case, file a report, and then form another committee to review same report - ad infinitum, á lá Swedish fashion. The Swedes excel in having their committees.

Will there be any outcome? Well, form a committee to discuss it. Then take lunch!!
14:58 September 7, 2012 by cogito
This latest victim of Swedish healthcare was 72 years old. Disposable. Can't have all these old Swedes and their pensions burdening the state.

Just wait till Obamacare kicks in in the USA....
18:31 September 7, 2012 by kcm9557
Don't screw with a Viking's lunch...
19:10 September 7, 2012 by flabdap
Pitiful...just pitiful. Murder by carelessness.
19:44 September 7, 2012 by ironman294
Lunchbreak? Who the hell ever heard of a lunchbreak during surgery? Are you kidding me?

As I asked in a previous story, people get reported or criticized, but will anyone get fired or lose their license to practice medicine or evengo to jail?

This is criminal? And if they go to lunch there should be other surgeons and nurses to take over. In the states there is usually the primary surgeon and if he took a lunch break which I have never heard of there would be another surgeon.

I mean how long does a tumor take to remove, really you culdnt starve yourself for a little longer?

When I had eye surgery, my doctor was there, and 3 nurses and the anesthetist.

The victim's family should sue the living daylights out of the octor, nurse and hospital. When there are no consequences you will have medical staff that do not care or perform to the best of their abilities.

21:02 September 7, 2012 by Ralloh
A "stinging criticism" huh. Oh my do you think they will ever live that down? Welcome to what Obama care will be like if not repealed.
08:44 September 8, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
If murderers can get 2 years in 'prison' here in Sweden, and a doctor who knowlingly infects women with his HIV condition can get a few months, and then insist on returning to work at Karolinska, then the penalty for reckless endangerment and negligent homicide by the nurse who left the room is, appropriately: a dose of embarassment.

No need for disciplinary action. The nurse has already suffered disproportionately more than other criminals in Sweden suffer when they have had to face the rage of the Swedish justice system.
12:16 September 8, 2012 by nolikegohome
shame what happened to the morals?
15:01 September 8, 2012 by Keith #5083

You comment as though the pre-Obama care system in the US was so free from problems.It would be interesting to see the stats that show:

1. how many people died because they had no coverage.

2. how many children died because 'they had used up their insurance company lifetime allowance by the time they were 11 years old"

3.how many malpractice and negligence law suits occur in the USA each year.

4. how many children died through insurance company errors that denied them treatment

You talk as though this case has something to do with politics, left or right. It has something to do with professionalism and personal responsibility. Trying to condemn the 'social model health care system' has nothing to do with this tragedy.These things occur in whatever system.Whenever professionals are not professional or even enthusiastic amateurs.
19:42 September 8, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Further to post 35

Many pro-Republican style Health Care proponents are basically sociopathically indifferent (sociopaths in the sense of an absolute lack of empathy toward their fellow man) to the plight of parents who have a child or children with a pre-existing health condition.

These Republicans are saying that the profit margin of health insurance companies are more important than the lives of children, and that in their world it is perfectly okay for these children to have substandard care or no care and for the parents to go bankrupt (in the ultra expensive US sytem) trying to give their children a normal life.

Many republicans say 'But hey, US hospitals don't turn people away from the emergency room if they have a broken leg, even if someone shows up without health insurance!', but this does not address quality of life issues and long term preventive care, which includes things such as prescription drugs, which could be unaffordable to people without insurance, and which could thereby seriously degrade their quality of life, or shorten it.

This is why the Replican health model can be summed up in 3 words: 'Don't get sick'. Shame on those who support it.
23:06 September 8, 2012 by Just_Kidding
If Swedish doctors are immigrating to Norway, that is fine, just keep educating more doctors.... even good enough students are not admitted to medicine in Sweden. But the system keeps the quota low.... and some Swedes end up going to Poland to become a doctor.
11:10 September 9, 2012 by cogito
#36. Can you substantiate any of your statements? Any source at all--other than tObama campaign propaganda?

#35. When did you stop beating your wife? Skewed questions is a fraudulent way to make a fake case. Give us the answers for "How many...?

For example:

How many Obama fatcats received secret waivers from Obamacare in exchange for paying him big bucks? Over 1,500 (that we know of)

How many pages long is the Obamacare bill? Over 2,000.And the garbage in it is only starting to be uncovered.

How did they disguise the death panels? By calling them Independent Payment Advisory Boards.
11:46 September 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism

The regulation that prevents health insurance companies from barring families who have a child with a pre-existing condition from getting coverage is fact, not propaganda.

And are you so naive that you believed (and continue to believe) Sarah Palin's idiotic 'Death Panels' accusation?

If you bothered to research that subject, you would have found out, as I well tell you now, that one version of the health bill included a provision where a PATIENT (not a doctor) at his/her own request could ask for a consultation with a doctor on paliative care issues, and that the Doctor would be simply be allowed to bill medicare for the consultation he provided to the patient on end of life treatment options, since this is a common type of consultation and Doctors were not always compensated for it.

There was NEVER the suggestion that a team of doctors would sit around deciding if they should stop treating a patient because it was too expensive, but imbeciles like Sarah Palin tried to make it sound that way, and a shocking number of naive Americans believed her, and apparently continue to believe that.
12:32 September 9, 2012 by cogito
Of course they won't have a team of doctors. Duh. The bureaucrats in charge of rationing are called "experts" (always a dodgy description).

Obomacare's IPAB is designed to be a mini-shadow government within the federal bureaucracy. These bureaucrats who issue life-and-death edicts are political appointees and answerable to no one--not even to democratically elected congress.

But it is a waste of time to discuss reality with a True Believer, especially one whose rhetoric is limited to facile name-calling (sociopaths, really?) mixed with outbursts of rage.

Let's just stipulate: yours is the side of angels, small children, nature and rainbows. The other side is comprised of evil sociopaths who eat babies and kittens for breakfast. But only after torturing them.
21:49 September 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
The death panel delusions that you attempt to promote have been widely dismissed by fact checkers, and in fact has been called the lie of the year in 2009 by the media. Read this:


So you can attempt to condescend to others all you want, but it is you who is one of the last to believe in ghost stories and fairy tales told to you in all the breadth and depth of Republican campaign sound bites.
14:14 September 10, 2012 by cogito
..."one of the last to believe in ghost stories and fairy tales..." #41

Oh dear. You seem to be unaware that media fact-checkers, as well as organizations such as factcheck.org, are severely skewed, according to their political bias. So much so that now there are organizations that fact-check the fact-checkers.

Wikipedia is your source? Is it possible that you did not know that anyone can change the entries in Wikipedia?

You really are gullible, aren't you? Sounds like you are the believer in fairy tales:

You probably even believe the fairy tales in Obama's book, Dreams....

Or the fairy tale that he wrote it himself.
18:51 September 10, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
That's the best you can do? Point out that Wikipedia can be editted, and that some fact checkers might be biased?

And what is your source of information? Sarah Palin repeatedly wailing 'SAY NO TO DEATH PANELS!' at tea party rallies several years ago?

Sound bites are intended to sway voters, the 'gullible' ones in particular, when these sound bites are lies or gross distortions.

The 'death panels' claim is easily dimissible to any unbiased reader by reference to the cited paragraphs and sections in the proposed legislation (as pointed out in the Wikipedia article, among other places). Or will you now suggest that people have invented new forms of the legislation just to create a Wikpedia article to mislead people?

And what facts do you have tosupport your assertion that someone else wrote Obama's memoirs entitled 'Dreams of My Father'? Even if he did have a ghostwriter help him, that is not relevant to health care policy.

The IPAB is intended to look for ways to reduce the obsence costs of US healthcare without changing the quality of care. If you know anything about US healtcare, you will know that some states adminsiter health care far more cost effectively than other states, and this is not because the more efficient states have doctor death running around switching off all the life support equipmment.

Some friends of mine were handed an over 300,000 USD bill after their daugther had a routine procedure done that required 2 weeks in a hospital in NJ, which included an itemized list of expenses, such as 16 dollars for the box of Kleenex placed next to her bed. The American health care system is robbing the American public (or their health insurance companies, for those who have one) in broad daylight, so plenty of room to reduce health care costs without swithcing off Granny's life support machine.

And plenty of room for other good ideas. For example Romneycare, the blueprint for Obamacare, which is one way to attempt to slow the spiraling costs of healthcare in the US.
16:18 September 11, 2012 by DiverDown
Ahhhhhh ........... What we Americans have to look forward too with Nobama care.

If they even print the story, we'll find it in section U - pg.23 below the fold under Use-less information. How dose Sweden do it? Dose the doctor talk to the patient prior? Or does the patient just pick a number? Just seeing what we have to look forward too here.
21:13 September 11, 2012 by cogito
#43. Is Sarah Palin running for office or something? You keep bring her up in your posts. Do you have dream about her?

#44. In Sweden you take a number and it's pretty much a lottery after that..But in spite of all its flaws and failures, Swedish healthcare is still preferable to Nobama care.
03:23 September 13, 2012 by ConstantCrisisNews
The Constant Crisis News & Opinion podcast has some "stinging criticism" of it's own for Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare in this week's episode: http://wp.me/p2BT86-3J
08:26 September 22, 2012 by Zedman
To those who think this is a Swedish problem, it's not, It's an arrogancy common among those in such positions.

I went into hospital in England for a repair to a tendon in my arm, but as it was taking longer than expected the surgeon cut it out, So that he could get to his lunch on time. because obviousely spending the rest of my life without the full use of an arm isn't nearly as important as his dinner getting cold?.
04:47 February 8, 2013 by kidneyguy
Irresponsible doctor should be sacked. It makes people avoid going to the hospital day by day because of this. Yes, it's our fault for getting this disease in the first place but we never asked for this. Let's opt for a healthier lifestyle. We should never depend on generic supplement. Having a kidney problem, such as kidney stone is a pain. Here is more information on kidney stone and how to prevent it naturally:

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