Swedish Man Dies After Doctor Leaves For Lunch In Middle of Surgery

A 72-year-old man died after his anesthesiologist left for lunch in the middle of his surgery to have a tumor removed at the Lidköping hospital in Sweden. Not only did the doctor leave for lunch but soon after the head anesthesia nurse took lunch — leaving a nurse from the orthopedic ward who did not know how to operate the respirator. It turns out that the machine was turned off.

The operation began in January 2011 at 10:45 am, but as soon as the clock hit noon the doctor declared he was punching out for lunch.

The patient’s condition went chronic with hemorrhaging and his blood pressure started to drop after the departure of the doctor — roughly an hour into his lunch break. Efforts to reach the doctor at lunch were unsuccessful. By the time, the doctor returned the patient had been without oxygen for eight minutes. They never revived the man who had suffered irreparable brain damage. He did not die however for several weeks.

The National Board of Health and Welfare criticized the doctor’s actions. These cases often revive the debate over whether some countries like Sweden would benefit for a more robust tort system for personal injuries and malpractice as in the United States. It is of course a trade off. Litigation does add costs to medical care but not as much as malpractice. Our system is based not only on a belief in the right for patients to recover fully for such loss, but also that such litigation constitutes a critical deterrent for malpractice.

What do you think?

Source: The Local

Kudos: Richard Swenson

72 thoughts on “Swedish Man Dies After Doctor Leaves For Lunch In Middle of Surgery”

  1. With government run healthcare, maybe it was just those government unions, dening someone lunch is aganist union rules

  2. An acquaintance had a heart attack and a recommendation for immediate 4-way bypass surgery. Cost would have been tens of thousand of dollars which he didn’t have. His friend was visiting Thailand and discussed the problem with people there. One flight to Thailand, met by hospital personnel with a wheel chair, taken to the hospital, got the surgery, and after surgery care. Paid the bill of less than $5000 and went home. He’s on a vegetarian diet for weight loss and better health (same diet as Bill Clinton) and he’s doing well.

  3. Must have been a good lunch. While I was in the process of being fired, the boss sent me a Christmas card. “May Christmas Be Trimmed With Good Things For You.” Signed “Jean.” And she also included a $10.00 Subway gift card. Along with the gift card, she bought a Turkey/Hamfr. She included the Subway receipt with the gift card. I still have it.

  4. This country is in need of serious healthcare reform when someone receives an ER bill for $87K for two shots of scorpion anti-venom that is sold in Mexico for $100. Astoundingly, the insurance company paid $53K for the treatment. The American (?) drug distributor charged the hospital $3K for each dose. So much for the blessings of the American free market.

    My guess is that a large number of Americans who seek treatment outside of the US are without insurance and cannot possibly afford care in a US hospital.

    We can do some wonderful medical things in this country, but there is PLENTY wrong with our healthcare.

  5. lottakatz, Many of the folks who go countries outside the US do so for experimental treatments/therapies not approved in the US. Our govt. system is bureaucratic in approving new treatments, surgeries, etc. That is a drawback, but to say there’s better healthcare elsewhere is ludicrous. We don’t have a healthcare problem we have a delivery of healthcare problem. The solutions needs to be to get everyone healthcare w/o crippling innovation. Not “throwing the baby out w/ the bath water” as it were.

  6. Cruel to say so…..But it would appear that the surgeon both fell asleep due to blood sugar decline. He with a scalpel in his hand and she with the respirator shut off button in hers. This after reading the Local’s article.

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