Karolinska Will Ignore Board's Decision to Stop Transplanting Hearts

Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm has decided to continue performing heart transplants, thereby rejecting the National Board of Health and Welfare’s decision last week to concentrate the procedure to just two hospitals in Gothenburg and Lund. Writing in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, four leading doctors at the hospital called the Board’s decision biased.

The doctors write that Karolinska will keep transplanting hearts until the Board does "a more impartial assessment" of the hospitals involved.

The editorial mirrors statements that Jan Hultman, co-author and director of Karolinska’s thoracic clinic, made to Radio Sweden on February 17. In an interview, he called the Board’s decision process “a one-man evaluation,” and maintained that that man doing the rankings was actually a representative of the Lund hospital that eventually won its bid.

Lars-Erik Holm, director general of the Board of Health and Welfare, did not disagree with that fact in an interview that same day, but said rather that the Board “had carefully evaluated if that would be any conflict of interest, and we’d come to the conclusion that it is not.”

The Board’s directive to concentrate heart transplants to just Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg and Skåne University Hospital in Lund was planned to be in place by July 1 this year.