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