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Doctor Charged with Manslaughter

Published måndag 1 februari 2010 kl 11.10
The children's hospital named after the famous Swedish author

A doctor at Stockholm's leading children's hospital has been charged with the manslaughter of a brain damaged baby girl in September 2008.

The female doctor at the Astrid Lindgren hospital had earlier been cleared of any wrongdoing by Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare.

The manslaughter charge was announced at Solna district court by prosecutors shortly after 2pm on Monday afternoon.

The experienced female physician was arrested in March last year accused of causing the death of a brain damaged baby girl the previous September in a so called "mercy killing. Police had been following up questions raised in the coronor's report which showed high levels of morphine and Tiopental, an anaesthetic, in the baby's blood stream. 

On Monday, Prosecutor Peter Claeson said that the manslaughter charge was grounded on evidence that the doctor was seen injecting the infant with Tiopental and that was the reason the baby had died. He wouldn't speculate on the doctor's motives for such an action.

The severely brain damaged girl had been born 15 weeks premature and had been on a life support machine for three months before September 2008 when the paediatrician removed the child from her breathing apparatus after consulting with the family.

Before the machine was switched off the baby was given the sedative Tiopental and some morphine.

The case has provoked strong debate in Sweden while fellow doctors have criticised the prosecution's handling of the case and the way in which the accused was arrested in front of colleagues at the hospital in March last year and taken into custody.

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