The Reykjavík District Court this morning acquitted a nurse, charged with involuntary manslaughter, of all charges. Landspítali National University Hospital was acquitted as well, RÚV reports.
Both were accused of the death of a patient who three years ago suffocated in the intensive care unit shortly after being taken off a respirator.
The case is without precedent since this was the first time the hospital and one of its staff members were charged under penal laws. Staff members from Landspítali, who were present in court in large numbers, expressed great relief at the court’s decision. So did the patient’s widow, mbl.is reports.
The nurse told RÚV she had always feared being found guilty, but the verdict a huge relief.
Ólafur G Skúlason, chairman of the Icelandic Nurses’ Association declared, “We welcome [her] acquittal and that of Landspítali as well. What we want is for such cases to be investigated in the right way, enabling us to learn from mistakes made, so we can ensure patients’ safety mush better than is being done today. In our opinion, the procedure this case got is not the right way for that.”
He concluded, “When a series of events leads to something systematically going wrong, then one person alone should not be blamed,” RÚV reports.