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Sten Levander loses medical credentials – is “obviously unsuitable to pursue his profession”
By Jessica Ziegerer & Sara Wizén
September 6, 2019

Psychiatrist Sten Levander

Psychiatrist Sten Levander

Sten Levander is one of the country’s most well-known forensic psychiatrists. Now he loses his medical credentials. He has prescribed too many drug-classified drugs and has proven “obviously unsuitable to practice his profession,” writes the Health Board’s responsibility board.

He is a professor emeritus in forensic psychiatry in Lund, as an expert witness in several noted crime cases and often debated in the media.

But now, the Health Board’s responsibility committee, HSAN, has decided to revoke the medical certificate for Sten Levander, 79 years.

He is thought to have consistently prescribed high doses of drug-rated drugs.

Sten Levander retired in 2006 but has been working part-time since 2014. He believes that he acted according to science with the patient’s best in focus.

– I feel like Socrates. He had to choose to stop using one of the authorities criticized method or take poison, and he took the poison cup and was happy. Conscience, principles and the profession are more important than the local rules that the popes write, says Sten Levander.

Do you recognize that you have prescribed too much medicine according to the Swedish rules, but that you think the rules are too harsh?
– I will conduct care according to science and proven experience, that is the overriding principle. I also have a free prescription right that allows me to prescribe things that are not in the rule books, and I use that right because I have my feet. I also have treatment results that are brilliant.

HSAN, on the other hand, believes that Sten Levander has not acted in accordance with science and proven experience. Nor has he taken into account that narcotic drugs should be given with the utmost care, according to HSAN.

HSAN has examined ten patient cases. In one case, this has resulted in a medical injury. This involved a patient who was affected by the high doses of medicine, went out and was found severely chilled and unconscious in a snowdrift. The body temperature was 33 degrees.

In the medical department where the man was later cared for, the assessment was made that Sten Levander “far exceeded what is recommended” when it comes to prescribed doses and that there was a risk that the patient could have died. Sten Levander, on the other hand, says that he has adhered to the quantities that were “justifiable to the patient.”

The fact that he is now revoked is because authorities have taken bad action on statements he has made, including his criticism of Swedish drug legislation.

HSAN is of the opinion that Sten Levander’s journals are substandard and that despite repeated criticism from the Inspectorate of Health and Care, Ivo, he failed to correct himself. He has also not provided all the records that Ivo has requested.

– I have previously been criticized for my record keeping and then I changed the record keeping. Now they have found other journals that lie ahead of the last review and then they criticize it again as if it were today’s journals, says Sten Levander.

That he is unable to provide certain medical records requested by Ivo is because he does not want to damage his criminal patients’ trust in him by giving the authorities information about criminal activities, he says.

To HSAN, Sten Levander has disputed the proposal to withdraw the identification. He points out that he has been reviewed by Ivo before, but that no shortcomings about the drug prescription have been highlighted. He has therefore not been able to “rectify the alleged deficiencies”.

Sten Levander has not decided whether to appeal the decision.