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11-year-old Swedish girl denied ambulance

11-year-old Swedish girl denied ambulance

Published: 24 Jun 2011 07:49 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Jun 2011 07:49 GMT+02:00

After sustaining an open chest wound of 10cm long while trimming her horse’s mane, Sweden’s emergency response services refused to send an ambulance, suggesting the 11-year-old girl take aspirin instead.

The 11-year-old girl, who was cropping her horse’s mane, accidentally ran into the blades of a dirty pair of scissors as the mare jerked up its head.

The resulting gash to her ribs measured 10cm long, and according to the girl’s mother, was substantially open, reported Sweden’s national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

The mother phoned SOS Alarm, the government-backed primary emergency response service, and described the child as shaking because she was in so much pain. She requested an ambulance because she did not have immediate access to a car.

The responding nurse refused the dispatch.

Instead she advised the mother to clean the wound, apply pressure and give her daughter aspirin which would give them eight hours to get to the nearest hospital, according to SvD.

It could have led to risk to the girl because emergency treatment was significantly delayed, declared an internal investigation launched by SOS Alarm, which determined the 11-year-old should have received an ambulance with high priority.

The probe also scrutinized the responding nurse’s protocol, concluding that the nurse did not ask sufficient questions regarding the girl’s wound, specifically related to the extent of the injury and amount of bleeding.

In a letter, the child’s mother described her daughter’s jacket as being soaked in a “very nasty blood.”

She said the trip to the hospital was “pure horror” and the first question she received from the hospital staff was “why didn’t you call an ambulance?”

TT/The Local/kh (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:21 June 24, 2011 by omash kavash
these kind of people should be sucked becoz dshe endangers life of others by thinking about th ambulance fuel and i guess the nurse was maybe doing praktik so she should go for another job not that one
09:44 June 24, 2011 by Great Scott
I don't believe the nurse was at fault, she was probably only carrying out instructions from her superiors. Which in turn was caused by the major health cuts that the Swedish government has been making? If Reinfeldt had cut his head while shaving, there would have been two ambulances (just in case one broke down) a flotilla of police cars and a whole department of surgeons to deal with it.
09:58 June 24, 2011 by jacquelinee
I guess the ticket is, that if you need an ambulance for some reason, tell them you have been shot in the face with a rifle or run over by a "Lastbil" and both legs are severed. Perhaps that is sufficent enough to get some help.
10:48 June 24, 2011 by miss79
@ great scott..yep it all started from the govt!
11:21 June 24, 2011 by riose
@Great Scott If the nurse recommended to take an aspirin to a girl with an open wound means that she wanted the girl to bleed forever, because an aspirin is an anticoagulant.

Good to avoid thrombosis, bad to stop bleeding.

So "apply pressure" and ''take an aspirin" is like telling a driver "press the gas pedal" and "brake as much as you can" at the same time.
11:43 June 24, 2011 by krrodman
The emergency medical nurse is the obvious 'bad guy" here, but there may be much more to the story.

Here are some questions I would like answered:

1. Are there enough ambulances available to manage all of the emergency calls?

2. Have emergency nurses faced criticism from the health care bureaucrats for too many unnecessary ambulance rides?

3. Has this particular nurse been criticized in the past for inappropriate ambulance use?

You get my point. While it is obvious that the nurse made a horrible mistake here, I wonder if the system has applied pressure on these emergency nurses to send fewer ambulances to "questionable" emergencies.
11:48 June 24, 2011 by BillyB
just one disaster after another with the health service here.

must be one of the worst in Europe
12:02 June 24, 2011 by arsalan.ikram
thanks to all who gives vote to moderate for their personal reasons now wait and see what will happened in next few years.
12:04 June 24, 2011 by jacquelinee
Don't worry..... soon they will organize another "think tank" about it that will rule that the caller must speak louder, or some other ludacris conclusion.
12:10 June 24, 2011 by zeero
When calling the SOS alarm service or 112 don't ask for an ambulance, simply say that you just killed 2 people in your house, help will then come...:-)
12:17 June 24, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
I think we are missing part of the story here. Something about this story, as it is written, seems slanted to the sensational and not much fact-bearing.
12:19 June 24, 2011 by johnny1939
Listen up USA. This is what you have to look forward to if Obama care takes hold or maybe not since the ambulance services there charge at least $750.00 on up to stabilize you and take you to the nearest hospital your insurance used to pay most of it. Who knows what is going to happen now. However, if you are injured and in pain you will pay anything to get to a hospital for care and worry about paying the ambulance people later.

The situation here is horrible. In the olden days one could call the local police for a ride if you were not sick enough for an ambulance and did not have access to a vehicle. What happened??
12:28 June 24, 2011 by Puffin
@ jonny1939, Great scott, krrodman, billyB

Are you not aware that SOS Alarm AB is a private profit making company?

The quality of SOS Alarm's services have truly declined after privattisation as they are required to make a certain level of profits - it is well known that they cut costs by hiring few and less qualified staff to make more money

Many of the (publicly owned) health authorities will no longer work with them and have refused to sign new contracts
13:02 June 24, 2011 by dizzy09
LOL..."why didn't you call an ambulance?"...just imagine the shock in the mother's eyes.
13:20 June 24, 2011 by Brtahan
It very sad to hear such news , see whats the problem about making such things private ! money is first and her life is second ... This happened more than once in this year what the parliament isdoing about this? nothing because the ruling side called the Arbete party, wants to make everything private and the rich richer so poor people become more sick and poor! did you hear about a sick man killed himself because of Fk and he didnt have any help. we are towards disaster because of greed and thinking we can save money with tax cuts , what if you were in this situation what would you choose , is money more important than your life or family!
13:43 June 24, 2011 by Great Scott

You are absolutely right, cut backs made by Borg and Reinfeldt are responsible for this occurrence. There are a lot of people here (probably dumb supporters of the idiots that are making the cut backs) trying to point the finger at the nurse. The nurse has to work to instructions laid out by her superiors, she is trained to do this.


You may well be right here, which even further adds to what I am saying, the nurse is doing what she is told. Carry on Sweden let the moderates sink you even further, by letting these greedy parasites take you into a privatised turmoil.
13:59 June 24, 2011 by zooeden
There you go, this is the second too many cases that appear in the ambulance service, The Private Sector should fine the service with millions and change the burocratic bull!!! Lifes are saved on the road between the ambulance and the hospital...

14:20 June 24, 2011 by theibmsstate2000
many cases happened like that and many people died.

they want to save fuel

they dont want to save the human.

who is important fuel or human.

that kind of nurse must be fine and fire from the job.

in swedish emergency my hand was cut very severe and i was waiting that when the doctor is free than they will call me. one 10 years old boy was crying due to stomach pain he was also waiting.what does emergency means. this is swedish emergency.
14:29 June 24, 2011 by Exolon
@Great Scott "I don't believe the nurse was at fault, she was probably only carrying out instructions from her superiors."

By this logic, then soldiers who massacre civilians at their superiors' orders are not at fault.

Every individual has a responsibility to act ethically, and "company policy" or even direct orders from superiors do not override this moral obligation.

See Nuremberg Principle IV: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".
14:54 June 24, 2011 by Great Scott

"By this logic, then soldiers who massacre civilians at their superiors' orders are not at fault." correct whether you like it or not, read your history. The word Jews comes to mind.

You are very naïve if you think it is the fault of one person the nurse, have you ever heard of being fired because you never carried out company policy. I sorry but you live in cloud cuckoo land.
15:20 June 24, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
This story seems to have some holes.

Why would a nurse prescribe aspirin for a flesh wound? Aspirin is a blood thinner, and would be exactly the medicine NOT to prescribe in this case.

Swedes don't really know what "aspirin" is in the first place. Older Swedes know of a product called Magnecyl.

There is something fishy with this story.
17:08 June 24, 2011 by Frobobbles
In Sweden people that are dying of cancer are denied health insurance, and told to get a job. So in comparison, a 10 y old girl with a knife ten centimeters into the heart is just a simulant, and should go out and play.
18:08 June 24, 2011 by Kaethar
Lol at right-wingers and left-wingers both using this as evidence for their own ideological arguments...

Reports are filed all the time and people are either proven wrong or right. Nothing to see here. In every country I could have a newspaper dedicated only to medical mishaps. News is all about angle. That The Local focuses a lot on medical complaints is because it "sells" - simple as that.
18:15 June 24, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Exolon, I'm interested to know which international law you think the nurse broke here.

Soldiers who massacre civilians breaches article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I've studied both in great detail and I don't remember anything about right to an ambulance on demand.
19:40 June 24, 2011 by Exolon
@Great Scott "You are very naïve if you think it is the fault of one person the nurse, have you ever heard of being fired because you never carried out company policy."

I never said it is the fault of one person. I said it is _also_ the fault of the nurse, who ultimately made the decision to refuse to send an ambulance to a seriously injured girl.

Your statement seems to imply that being fired for not following company policy is more important than saving a life. I disagree, and would gladly refuse to obey policy when I feel that it contravenes the rights of another human being or breaks other laws.
20:15 June 24, 2011 by Puffin
It has been reported extensively in the Swedish media that SOS Alarm have been making huge cuts in order to increase profits

Some days there are just 2 emergeny nurses covering a population of 2 million people

Time to rethink having such as vital service as a profit making company perhaps?
21:54 June 24, 2011 by Species125
Has anyone considered taking emergency first-aid training? The more educated we in the public are, the better the chance we have of saving one another.
22:04 June 24, 2011 by JanineC
This is what eventually happens when you have socialized medicine. You have shortages and then people are turned away. You also get incompetent help (like this nurse telling her to give the child aspirin while she is bleeding!). The stupid "progressives" (should be called "regressives") here in the U.S. pushed this through with Obamacare...but we are fighting it every step of the way. When are people going to learn?? And no, we don't have people "dying in the streets" for lack of insurance. When I was between jobs or underemployed, I didn't have insurance. But I still had some health issues come up. One required having my gall bladder removed. I got excellent care. The other required my being hospitalized for 5 weeks (I wanted to leave earlier but they wanted to make sure the infection was all gone). Nobody is dying in the streets in the U.S. under our healthcare system. But it does sound like people are dying or suffering in Sweden and the U.K. all the time!
23:16 June 24, 2011 by Scepticion
First, SOS Alarm is still a government company exactly like systembolaget.

This is from their web site:

"SOS Alarm ägs till 50% av staten (genom näringsdepartementet) och till 50% av Sveriges kommuner och landsting, (SKL)."

It is a general phenomena in many governments - also in other places in Europe - to count and take account of every krona/Euro, i.e. to implement business like structures. Such rules are often dictated by the EU. It does have it's good reasons, e.g. look at the mess in Greece, they don't even know how many government employees they have.

So, this rule of accountably also means that "independent units" are formed that need to keep their accounting sheets balanced. This does not only apply to SOS Alarm, but also e.g. to universities and other institutions. Also, e.g. public transport.

Having huge monolithic organizations (government), can make it inefficient.

Smaller units can adjust/adapt faster.

So, what is wrong with SOS Alarm? They provide a service and the government pays for it. Obviously someone seemed to have made totally wrong calculations, as the quality seems to have gone down the tube with the current amount of money they get. Clearly this needs to be investigated.

However, I think this is only part of the problem. There is also a general Swedishness problem. Incompetent people everywhere - not just SOS. School systems that didn't challenge pupils, students don't like hard subjects (science) and hard work. Brainlessly following rules, even if comment sense would dictate otherwise.

An attitude of lagom, no motivation to do a job well (another story was ambulance drivers going to lunch first, rather than pick up the dying guy). It could be blamed on the social system that dominated Sweden so long - working harder doesn't pay off, so why work hard. If think there are a lot of people in Sweden that don't take their job seriously (lousy customer support/treatment in many places).

@ JanineC. There is nothing wrong with general health care if implement right, essentially all of Western Europe works like this, even countries run now by moderate/right wing governments. Having no general health scheme makes the USA a laughing stock of the world. And the blame for the current mess in the USA lies directly with the republicans, with an unnecessary war in Iraq, and their total destruction of US economy. Blaming all on Obama now just shows how short-sighted many US people are. Now the republicans oppose the action in Lybia!! What hypocritical bigots they are. This action in Lybia is UN approved, in contrast to the Iraq war.
00:21 June 25, 2011 by theibmsstate2000
human is more important than profit and other things.

human must be saved.

human must not be suffered.

if this happen to that nurse and her daughter call her what do you think what she will do for her daughter the ambulance will reach on time.

i never thought in sweden health system is like that.
03:03 June 25, 2011 by Tamy
To be honest I'm not very surprised but dread to think what it would've meant had my daughter had a serious injury...some eye opener alright.
03:19 June 25, 2011 by Rhinoguy
I already have Obamacare and I can tell you how bad it is. I have received a liver transplant, five stents and a bleeding ulcer cauterization. For almost zero cost. I have had many ambulance rides, one lasting ten hours. Covered. I have never heard a complaint from someone who has used Obamacare but I have listened to endless whining by people who are still healthy and remain ignorant of any experience. Don't these fools know how insurance works?

Americans pay less taxes than anyone in the developed world and still we (conservatives) snivel. LOG OFF, irritants!

BTW, I am not a bleeding heart liberal (it certainly doesn't bleed for the whiners!), I am the former County Chairman of the Guilford County Libertarian Party. Yeah, baby, a DUES paying Libertarian.
04:50 June 25, 2011 by Scepticion
Just a short follow-up about work attitude in Sweden: another article:

"Summer staffing threatens patient safety".

How do they deal with this in other countries? Well, they organize shifts so that not everybody goes on holiday at the same time. But not in Sweden, here everybody, police, health care, whatever, insist on their right to go on holiday during the summer. I've never seen a country that shuts down as much as Sweden. Ok, sure I understand that people want to take off in summer, especially for families with kids - school holidays etc.. But you can't run organizations that require around the clock presence like that.
10:11 June 25, 2011 by RobinHood
SOS Alarm is a private company owned by only two shareholders; the Swedish government and the Swedish health authorities. The image of rapacious shareholders ruthlessly extracting profits at the expense of the sick, exists only in the over-active imaginations of some of the usual uninformed, loopy left wing agitators above.

Clearly all is not well with the company, and clearly that is the fault of the management. The shareholders are responsible for management, and they alone are to blame. Either privatise it properly - sell the shares to people who will run it properly, and open the market up to competition to drive up efficiency and reduce costs, or take it back into the health service and get new managers.

Either way suits the consumers; they don't care. They just want an ambulence to arive when they need one.
11:03 June 25, 2011 by Puffin
Still think that the ambulance service should be a not for profit rather than being a profit making company that has a required level of profit to be acheived

One of the problems that SOS Alarm has that they are on a downward spiral as a result of the new profit demands and several health authorities have placed contracts with a different ambulance company -Medhelp - so because of the loss of business SOS Alarmarm is cutting costs.....

It is a mistake to think that Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting (SKL) is a public organisation - it's not - so many unitiated think that it is the same thing as kommuns and landsting - but it is in fact a private organisation itself
11:06 June 25, 2011 by Rishonim
11-year-old Swedish girl denied ambulance.

I wonder had the 11 year-old been Italian, would TL write 11 year old Italian girl denied ambulance
01:27 June 26, 2011 by Pro-alliance
"The mother phoned SOS Alarm, the government-backed primary emergency response service, and described the child as shaking because she was in so much pain...the responding nurse refused the dispatch."

These emerging and frankly horrendous sequence of events where the ambulance services essentially refuse to carry out the very responsibilities they are a) trained for and b) paid for by the public is nothing short of breathtaking recklessness. We are talking about the fine line between life and death, and some inept folks can't understand the need for saving a life. It is a sad indictment of this evolving situation and increasingly heaps shame as well as tarnishes the image of the medical emergency services. This is the second reported incident where this critical help has been refused, and that is why I have delved into the debate here on these shambolic practices taking place. I know not all emergency service personnel are behaving badly but the few that do are dragging the generally good image of the ambulance services through the mud. It needs stopping. Period!
14:55 June 26, 2011 by soultraveler3
This is happening every week now. :(
16:56 July 1, 2011 by Icarusty
Wow, you guys privatise the emergency dispatch vehicles in Sweden?? Mental
22:29 July 15, 2011 by dan_sparrow
but they drive 70 year olds to the liquor store instead!!!!!

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