From Iceland — Medical Associations Against Prosecution In Healthcare

Medical Associations Against Prosecution In Healthcare

Published August 31, 2021

Desirai Thompson
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Chairmen from three Icelandic medical associations have come together to take the stand that healthcare professionals should be protected from prosecution when serious incidents take place in the medical environment. Instead, they feel it important to focus on systematic failings, reports Vísir.

These groups, the Association of Hospital Physicians (Félags sjúkrahúslækna), the Medical Council of Landspítali (læknaráðs Landspítala) and the Medical Association of Iceland (Læknafélags Íslands) are, at the same time, calling for action to be taken immediately in regard to serious incidents in health service. They believe, however, these occurrences should be treated similarly to a plane or traffic accident. In those circumstances, a committee investigates and releases findings so the failings may be learned from.

This statement comes on the heels of the recent death of a psychiatric patient on August 16th at the hands of an attending nurse who is said to have been force feeding the woman when she choked to death. The accused was taken into custody and later released. The incident is being investigated as a criminal act.

In 2015, a working group appointed by the Minister of Health proposed reporting and investigation procedures involving unexpected deaths in the healthcare setting. Reynir Arngrímsson, chairman of the Icelandic Medical Association, claims there have been no improvements since then in spite of the detailed suggestions.

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