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Parents Sue Hospital over Death of Infant

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Parents Sue Hospital over Death of Infant

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Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Lára V. Júlíusdóttir, the lawyer representing Karl Olgeir Olgeirsson and Sigríður Eyrún Friðriksdóttir, the parents of Nói Hrafn Karlsson, filed a lawsuit to the police yesterday over the baby boy’s death at Landspítali National University Hospital in January 2015.

Karl and Sigríður described their experience on RÚV’s news magazine Kastljós on August 30. A series of mistakes were made during Nói Hrafn’s delivery. A specialist wasn’t called until hours after distress signals from the fetal monitor were noticed, and when the specialist finally arrived, he underestimated the situation. Nói Hrafn was eventually delivered by vacuum extraction and had to be resuscitated. He suffered serious brain damage due to lack of oxygen and died five days later.

Director of Nursing at Landspítali Sigríður Gunnarsdóttir admitted to the mistakes but disagreed with the Directorate of Health that this is a case of negligence.

Chief Medical Officer at Landspítali Ólafur Baldursson told RÚV that the hospital is working on improving its work methods. “This is a tragic case. It’s a case which has extremely serious consequences and is an indescribably tragedy for the parents. We are currently focusing on improvements to make sure that this will not happen again. It’s clear from our analysis that there was a failure in communication. That is crystal clear. It’s part of the problem and an important part of the improvements we’re working on.”

Ólafur said it’s understandable that the hospital’s decision not to report Nói Hrafn’s death to the police is being questioned and that its policy on this issue will also be reviewed. The law on unexpected deaths at the hospital is unclear, he reasoned, and must be clarified.

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