• Sweden's news in English

Legless man denied wheelchair

Rebecca Martin · 1 Dec 2011, 13:55

Published: 01 Dec 2011 13:55 GMT+01:00

The man had his legs amputated after a long struggle with diabetes, but despite being unable get about, his application for a power wheelchair has been denied.

“I was bitterly disappointed in the local authorities. I don’t feel I got the support I deserve,” Evert Stefansson told The Local.

Evert Stefansson had struggled with his health for a long time. As a long-suffering diabetic his kidneys have taken a beating, as has his eyesight.

About a year ago, his condition took a turn for the worse when his toe suddenly went black.

He was rushed to hospital where they had no other choice than to amputate his leg. Within a year, they had to take his other leg too.

Since then Evert has experienced some difficulty in getting about.

He might be able to walk short distances again with prosthetic legs, but that will take up to a year, according to his wife Siv.

Siv, also on early retirement due to a bad back, told The Local how she is forced to help her husband with everything and how he remains completely dependent on her.

In order to regain some of his independence, Stefansson applied for a so-called Permobile, a power wheelchair, that he could manoeuvre himself.

“But I had my suspicions right from the start that it wouldn’t be easy, when the woman from the county visited. She sort of hinted that he could have an ordinary electric wheelchair,” Siv Stefansson said.

The electric wheelchair was less desirable as it would still need a carer operating it, and would therefore not allow Stefansson to get about by himself, without the constant help of his wife.

However, the motivation for the county council’s decision was allegedly that it was “uncertain if the impairment was permanent”, reported local media.

After the couple found out that Evert’s application would be rejected, Siv decided to take the matter into her own hands.

“I got angry. It just isn’t right that he has worked all his life but now can’t do anything that he loves anymore. Not even go fishing,” she told The Local.

Story continues below…

“I decided to contact the papers and the broadcast media. And it was definitely what was needed.”

Through media’s reports, a woman in the nearby area caught wind of the couple’s plight and contacted her brother, who works with permobiles and has previously helped others in the same predicament.

“She told him ‘you better do something about this’ - and he did,” Siv Stefansson said.

Thanks to the woman's initiative, Evert’s new permobile will arrive next week, on loan from the company that manufactures them.

“I am overjoyed! It is by far the best Christmas present we could receive,” Siv Stefansson told The Local.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:39 December 1, 2011 by RobinHood
The ;Local

You've done this one already. Stop recycling stories.
14:42 December 1, 2011 by Abe L
It seems like Swedes think that every application for special care or exceptions is fraudulent. The people responsible for the rejection of this application need immediate job termination as they are clearly not capable of doing it.

It's a shame that the only way to get these things done is by seeking out publicity.
15:42 December 1, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
That's a picture of a moblity scooter not a permobile.
16:43 December 1, 2011 by Scepticion
He could have gotten an electric wheel chair? Why not that then? What's the difference?
20:54 December 1, 2011 by swedejane
Sweden: guilty of something until proven innocent.
22:14 December 1, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
...indeed slovenly reporting!

The 'opening paragraph led you to believe that this guy WAS denied because the LHA was "uncertain if the impairment was permanent" - then about two-thirds of the way through the article, it was "ALLEGEDLY that it was "uncertain if the impairment was permanent",

Good journalism would carry a little more clarity - but then this is 'thelocal.se' Lol!
22:53 December 1, 2011 by Puffin
I think the health authorities sent out a really bad letter

However in the Swedish press it is being reported that the guy has recently started treatment at the prosthesis clinic and it is hoped that he will be able to walk if this treatment is a success

So I guess that in some ways the letter was right - at the moment the exact nature of his long term prognosis is unclear
00:27 December 2, 2011 by CCVB
sure, legs grow back, we all know that ppprrrttttt Sweden is the dumbest country I ever lived in! Jesus, those people are dumb!
10:24 December 2, 2011 by Gubbe
The worst part is that the poor man had planned to sue the county office responsible for denying him the permobile, but his lawyer told him he didn't have a legal leg to stand on.
10:49 December 2, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
Maybe it was type II diabetes from being overweight and they felt he should learn to use prosthetics to walk and exercise? Just a maybe... who knows.
11:35 December 2, 2011 by Paddy
I think the authorities were well within their rights! I've been leggless many times before - but they're always there when I wake up!
17:30 December 2, 2011 by SuperTulle
And once again, Sweden put's the letter of the law above common sense...
19:23 December 2, 2011 by tadchem
Evidently the county council believes in witchcraft:

(from Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she's a witch?

Villager: Well, she turned me into a newt!

Sir Bedevere: A newt?

Villager: ...I got better.
00:14 December 3, 2011 by dghattierdc
that was funny. I got Better.

In the USA the govt types always look to Europe for the way to do things.

Socialized while "free" has many problems. This is bening an extreme example.

Just look what the United States has to look forward to if we do get Obamacare. All of this compassion with the efficiency of the IRS or Social Security admin.

Yup lets hope I get better.
01:26 December 3, 2011 by Jamal Jenkums
Did you dumb frostbitten sprogs think he was going to grow them back? What a crock of s**t!
02:21 December 3, 2011 by cognizato
22:53 December 1, 2011 by Puffin

Seriously, Puffin? You think the guy is going to grow new legs? Quit making excuses for stupid.
02:24 December 3, 2011 by davelala
His case was reviewed and it was determined that he doesn't have a leg to stand on
02:25 December 3, 2011 by kahnavka
This is typical government. If you think it will be any better under Obamacare you are sadly mistaken.
02:27 December 3, 2011 by cognizato
What is wrong with her? "The best Christmas present we could receive"? It's a holiday present, woman.
06:18 December 3, 2011 by Highdomer
He was denied because he didn't have a leg to stand on
11:26 December 3, 2011 by David_from_San_Diego
In the United States, television advertisements convince fat people to tell their doctors that they should receive a "powerchair" through our socialized medical care program ("Medicare"). The U.S. federal government will pay for ANYTHING ... as long as China lends us the money. Please pray for America, because we will be gone soon.
14:16 December 3, 2011 by ErnestPayne
Why not have the council hold all their meetings outdoors, all year, while they are dressed only in swimsuits. That should give them some sense of feeling towards the disabled.
15:27 December 3, 2011 by cogito
Meanwhile, in the U.K., more from the Annals of Government medicine:

An ambulance called at a widow's home to pick up her husband for a hospital appointment four years after his death.

(google "Widow-Denise-Keeley-distraught-ambulance...."
16:08 December 3, 2011 by nativam
The naive reporter doesn't give enough information. The man is portrayed as a victim. Is he a socialist expecting and demanding that "those greedy wealthy" people hand over their money to him for a zippy power scooter even if they would rather not? Does he expect and demand that a thieving, Robin Hood government do it for him? And what else does he expect from a government bureaucrat in such a system?

If so, let him rot. If someone who has been wise and thrifty enough cares enough about him to VOLUNTARILY give him a wheelchair, he should be thankful. If his wife doesn't have the energy to be his motor today, give her a break. She isn't having an easy time either.
17:22 December 3, 2011 by Ar Amytas
I guess grow-a-pair must refer to something else in Sweden.
18:18 December 3, 2011 by jack sprat

So whats the Swedish definition of permanent impairment,...... 6ft under ???
18:35 December 3, 2011 by terrellperry
He has retirement income. His wife could (does) work. Why can't he pay for the device himself?
20:15 December 3, 2011 by ruskyruss
Socialized medicine, coming to U.S.A. soon!!!
20:55 December 3, 2011 by elleno
They were just pulling his leg!
05:23 December 4, 2011 by MitchT
I don't know about him, but I've been legless more than a few times and have been OK after sobering up.
16:09 December 4, 2011 by jnsesq
Bureaucrats practicing medicine -- once exclusively the province of the doctor-patient relationship. Gee, you Euros sure have shown Obama and the rest of us backward Yanks the future. Can't thank you enough for that progressive intellectual superiority.
02:51 December 5, 2011 by PACoug
The bureaucrats would spot him a scooter, but they cost an arm and a leg.
03:56 December 5, 2011 by fredlave
This is the future of American healthcare under Obama.
08:06 December 5, 2011 by jayguy10000
This is ridiculous. Where's your pride. Getting all bent out of shape, then complaining till you get it. You should just go figure out a way to get one on your own instead of relying on some bureaucracy. That entitlement mentality has to go. You're a big crybaby. Yes, I said crybaby and I mean it. Screw you, nobody owes you anything.
14:05 December 5, 2011 by amputee mom
My son lost both legs 7 years ago to MRS before there were proper drugs to treat it. He has prosthetic legs and works fulltime; however, there is more to this subject than that. There are many times when his stumps are too sore to wear them, the legs break and they need adjusting constantly. He has to use a manual wheelchair, but he is young, and it is doable but not without many issues. When he applied for a government program to receive financial aide to retrain for a new job he was told he didn't qualify until he could prove the disability was permanent. But if he went on government disability he could draw checks AND automatically qualify for the power chair! Please, could we just use some common sense here? Not everyone who needs a power chair is a malingerer, but most double amputees truly need one in order to remain independent. This man should not have to lose his ability to participate in life in a meaningful way for lack of a powerchair. My husband died last year from ALS and we have a $34,000 computer-compatible chair that I would gladly give him if i could.
06:48 December 7, 2011 by philster61
Dam. I'm type 2 diabetic and this is depressing news....
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