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OFFBEAT

Doctor under fire after saving woman’s life

A doctor at Sørlandet hospital in southern Norway has come in for heavy criticism after giving a woman a blood transfusion despite her written request not to receive the treatment under any circumstances.

The 30-year-old woman, a Jehovah’s Witness, was given blood by the doctor after complications arose as she gave birth to her second child in the summer of 2010, newspaper Fædrelandsvennen reports.  

Local patient rights official Eli Gotteberg has now called on the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision to launch an inquiry into whether the doctor violated the patient’s rights.

Although the doctor’s action may have saved her life, the woman reserved the right to refuse treatment if she wished, Gotteberg said. She added that physicians could decline in advance to treat Jehovah’s Witnesses if they felt this created the kind of ethical dilemmas they would rather avoid.

“Wherever the Bible is clear, we aim to adhere strictly to it,” said Jehovah’s Witness spokesman Tom Frisvold.

“And the Bible is very clear that people should refrain from blood, through food or injection.”

Frisvold added that it was customary for Norwegian hospitals to respect patients' requests not to be given blood.

Sørlandet hospital informed the doctor that he had acted improperly when he failed to take swift action to halt the woman’s bleeding. Had he heeded requests by the woman and her husband to have her taken immediately to an operating theatre, she would likely not have lost so much blood that the situation became life-threatening. The doctor no longer employed at the hospital.

The woman and her child both survived and are in good health, Gotteberg said.

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OFFBEAT

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.

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