„I cannot really comment on the matter while it is being investigated by the Directorate of Health,“ says Jón Helgi Björnsson, head of the Health Care Institution of North Iceland. He says that it is quite common for nurses to be assigned to check-ups for people with health problems.
Jón Helgi could not in full discuss a tragic case where Berglind, a two-year-old girl, died from Covid-19, only hours after being tended to by a nurse. The girl’s parents told their daughter’s story in Channel 2’s (Stöð 2) news yesterday. They described how they had talked to a doctor on the phone that same evening. They had been very worried about their young daughter, who was having some respiratory issues. The doctor in question noted that there was a 70-kilometer drive to the family’s location, who live in the small town of Þórshöfn. He therefore decided to send a nurse over to their home to take a look at the girl.
Berglind passed away just a few hours after the nurse left the family’s home. The nurse did not make the girl take a test for Covid-19, nor did they check her oxygen saturation.
One can understand those parents’ great sorrow
„One can understand those parent’s great sorrow,“ Jón Helgi said when Mannlíf’s journalist called him, inquiring about the case. When asked whether the doctor in question, the one who originally talked with the parents, is on leave while the case is under investigation, Jón Helgi said he was not. „No, there are three doctors who work this position and they divide the job amongst themselves according to an arrangement.“
When Mannlíf’s journalist asked Jón Helgi whether he believed that the doctor should in fact remain in his post after such an event and whether sending him on a leave had been discussed at all, he said that no such bearings had been made.
„It is very common in the health care system in general, that a nurse tends to an individual with health problems. It differs whether it is in direct consultation with a doctor or not. In a case such as this one, a doctor can ask the nurse on call to take a look at the individual,“ Jón Helgi says.
When asked whether he knows why the doctor decided to send a nurse to check on the girl instead of tending to her himself, Jón says he believes that the Icelandic Directorate of Health would investigate that.
„This is, of course, what the Directorate of Health will most likely look into and will be granted a detailed account of this particular case. But it is very common for nurses to tend to patients, or for individuals to go see the nurse on call, and then being tended to – in close consultation with a doctor.“
This article was originally written in Icelandic by Katrín Heiða Guðjónsdóttir.