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Man dies after ambulance call went unanswered

Man dies after ambulance call went unanswered

Published: 01 Feb 2012 08:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2012 08:51 GMT+01:00

A woman whose boyfriend died after she was unable to get through to Swedish emergency response service SOS Alarm has reported the matter to health authorities.

The incident took place on 2am on New Year's morning when the woman's 53-year-old boyfriend was struck by a cerebral hemorrhage at their home in Blekinge in southern Sweden.

She immediately called 112, the Swedish emergency number, but was unable to get an operator on the line.

“I tried repeatedly to call SOS via 112, but without success. No answer!”, the woman wrote in her complaint to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

“To not be able to reach SOS Alarm is totally unacceptable!”

According to the woman, she placed several calls using both a mobile phone and a land line.

She had even called a friend and begged her to call as well.

But neither the woman nor her friend were able to get emergency services on the line.

“According to their contract with the state, it's not supposed to take longer than eight seconds to get an answer from SOS Alarm,” the woman wrote.

In her complaint, the woman explained that “a while later” she received a call from emergency services and that an ambulance eventually arrived at their home.

But it was too late to save her boyfriend's life.

The woman claimed that the fact calls were place from both a land line and a mobile phone ruled out the possibility that there was something wrong with the telephone connection.

Nor should the fact that it was a holiday have made any difference, according to the woman.

“New Year's night or not, it shouldn't make any difference when every second is critical,” she wrote.

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

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Your comments about this article

10:25 February 1, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Sickening. Hope the dispatch's coffee break was worth it.
10:51 February 1, 2012 by StockholmSam
So, is privatization to blame? Would a state-run service function better?
11:28 February 1, 2012 by Scepticion
It doesn't matter whether S or M policies, private or public, it's the lagom that has to be overcome in Sweden. People need to take their job seriously.
12:11 February 1, 2012 by RobinHood
@Stockholm Sam

SOS Alarm is 100% owned and managed by the state health authorities that emply its services. It is effectively a state run service already.
12:33 February 1, 2012 by Abe L
#3,

People need to be held accountable for their actions, including being held responsible for a death if your job is to answer the emergency call. The person that was supposed to have answered the call needs to be both fired and pursued for any claims from the victim for financial compensation.

However, as this is not a first occasion they should actually fire the entire upper management and get people in there that can handle the responsibility of saving lives.

The problem in Sweden is that people just point fingers and take no responsibility.
12:39 February 1, 2012 by soultraveler3
It's disgusting but not surprising at all. How often do we read stories like this? Twice a month on average? There's absolutely no excuse for it.

Scepticion is right as well.

It being private or state run doesn't / wouldn't make one bit of difference. You get sh#t service at privately owned businesses as well as at government places here. It's peoples' attitudes that need to change much more than the system.

Until Swedes start caring more about doing a good job while at work (being competent, getting things done in a timely manner and taking care of customers / patients etc.) than taking fika breaks, texting and chatting on the phone and acting like they're doing people a favor by being there working, nothing will change.

Swedes are taught from day one however, to take whatever is given to them and accept it without complaint and that "lagom" is best and wanting or expecting more than that makes you a bad person.

Until that attitude changes, nothing else will.
15:54 February 1, 2012 by EP
Perhaps it should be easier to sue in Sweden than it is now. I don't mean it should be a litigation-trigger happy land like the US, but a little bit more power in the hands of the people and tougher penalties plus the risk of litigation perhaps will shorten the fika times ... and make lagom a bit less lagom ...
18:28 February 1, 2012 by zooeden
Not Surprised, close down that SOS agency and open a new one god damn it!!!!
20:20 February 1, 2012 by Bumblebeetuna
The operators were really busy, im sure. Its the planning and management structure that didn't plan properly.
21:07 February 1, 2012 by grov_kvinnofridskrankning
Why didn't the idiot woman just drive him. I think she killed him, and trying to blame someone else.
08:45 February 2, 2012 by Cephalectomy
couldnt it be the telephone company's fault?
04:28 February 16, 2012 by Trenatos
The problem is that we have no idea what happened.

We don't know if SOS was swamped with calls, if there was faulty equipment, or if someone was just taking a long coffee break.

More info, The Local!
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