Norway’s National Hospital (Rikshospitalet) in Oslo has been ordered to improve its care of premature babies, after local authorities determined that staffing was so short that the hospital was violating the law.
A report from the county administrator conducted by the fylkeslegen, Dr Petter Schou, concluded that a chronic shortage of nurses in the intensive care unit for premature babies leaves those on duty forced to make difficult priorities. Medication and treatment considered not to be absolutely necessary is often dropped, while important symptoms of a baby’s deteriorating condition can be overlooked.
The list of deficiencies went on, prompting the state children’s ombud Anne Lindboe to call the situation “extremely serious” and tell newspaper Aftenposten that she was worried both over the lack of staffing and the lack of accommodation and inclusion of parents in their babies’ care and progress.
Administrators in charge of the intensive care unit for preemies admitted to a lack of experienced nurses but claimed they were hard to find despite recruiting efforts.”We will nonetheless continue to try to recruit new employees who have adequate training,” Dr Terje Rootwelt, leader of the women’s and children’s clinic, told Aftenposten. He also said that six new nurses who have completed intensive care training for babies will be joining the hospital in June.