From Iceland — Hospital Denies Bad Management Led To Group Infection

Hospital Denies Bad Management Led To Group Infection

Published November 17, 2020

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Már Kristjánsson, chairman of Landspítali´s epidemic committee, says that he does not see where mistakes were made in the hospital’s management that could be linked to the group infection at Landakot, RÚV reports.

On Friday, Landspítali presented a preliminary report on the group infection at Landakot, one of the most serious incidents to occur in the hospital’s history. Twelve patients have died as a result of the infection, and around 200 infections have been linked to the hospital. In two wards almost all of the patients, and about half of the staff, became infected.

The report outlines various reasons why Landakot may have become infected, including inadequate staffing and facilities, poor ventilation, cramped premises and the movement of staff and equipment between departments.

When the group infection was first reported, the Office of the Medical Director of Health stated that this incident should be considered a serious and notifiable incident. In an interview with, Már said that he was not happy with this response from the Directorate of Health, and that there had been no failures in the way the hospital had operated. Páll Matthíasson, the hospital’s director agreed, saying that it was not at all clear why the infection was considered a notifiable incident, as there was nothing to indicate that it broke out due to misconduct within the hospital.

Hospital facilities are not the best

In the first wave of the epidemic, Landakot was divided into cells, stopping the spread of the virus throughout the hospital. When infections were diagnosed there, they were easily contained. An assessment was made of the risk of infection at the hospital, and strengths and weaknesses were analysed. In the third wave, however, this compartmentalisation was not established, despite the wide spread infection in the community.

When asked if there was concern that infection could spread if the hospital was not divided in compartments, Már explained that there was always a sense of concern, saying, “It is clear that the hospital’s premises and facilities are not the best. It’s not like the hospital is an institution that can just change its rooms.” Már insisted, however, that despite not splitting the hospital into compartments as before, the site had increased its disease control measures since the last wave.

Infection control was good

The movement of staff and equipment between departments was also brought into question, suggesting that this would have spread the infection around. But Már insists that the infection was well contained within the hospital and did not spread from one site of entry, saying that there would have been more than one way of the infection getting in.

“When you look at the genetics of the virus, it is clear that there are many sites of virus entry during the pandemic period, at least three, and probably as many as four or five,” he said. “In two of theses events there was no spread, but in others there will be spread.” He continued, saying that the fact the infections were contained and did not spread further was proof of good infection control.

According to the report, the hospital’s management believes that they did not make any mistakes in the handling of the virus. “We do not go to work with the intention of making mistakes. Everyone goes to work in the environment that the workplace creates for you to do as well as you can”, Már concluded.

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