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Swedish woman receives own death certificate in the post

Published: 17 Feb 2009 09:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Feb 2009 09:18 GMT+01:00

A woman suffering from cancer has received some shocking news from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) - a letter informing her that she had been declared dead.

The woman in Boden in northern Sweden had just begun treatment for her cancer condition when the letter arrived. Local newspaper Norrlänska Demokraten (NS) reports that the woman was not in the least amused by its contents.

"Unfortunately this is a case of human error. The administrator was dealing with several cases simultaneously and a mix up occurred with the address details," Eva Sjöberg at the insurance agency's Malmö office said to NS.

"We apologize profusely for this. It has never happened before and I hope that it will never happen again."

Such errors should not be able to occur since the Social Insurance Agency must first receive a notification of person's death from the Tax Agency (Skatteverket) before sending out a death confirmation notice.

But standard procedure was not followed in this case, according to a baffled Ingrid Nilsson at the woman's local social insurance office in Luleå.

The agency has now amended its routines as a result of the case. Administrators are now permitted to work with only one case open on their desk at a time to prevent any repeat of this type of error.

The woman in question is now focusing on her treatment to defeat the cancer and achieving a clean bill of health.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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