17-year-old dies after ambulance no-show
Published: 09 Feb 2012 16:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2012 16:16 GMT+01:00
Swedish emergency response service SOS Alarm has reported the death of a teenage boy to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), after the ambulance never turned up and his parents had to drive him to hospital.
”The tragic event with the young boy is being investigated internally. We’re collecting as much information about it as we can. When we’ve finished with the investigation we will do a lex Maria report so the National Board of Health and Welfare can look into it,” said Sylvia Myrsell, head of the SOS Alarm patient safety division to Sveriges Radio (SR).
The 17-year-old boy from Kalmar in southern Sweden died in hospital in January after his parents drove him there, giving up on the ambulance they had been waiting for.
SOS Alarm claim that there was an error with the prioritizing of the case, resulting in the case not being treated as an emergency.
It remains unclear if the boy died as a result of the delayed response time of the ambulance, whose drivers drove without lights or sirens.
“When we become aware of incidents in which our management is questioned, we always begin with an internal investigation. But our goal is not to hang any employee out to dry, we try to find the system or organizational error that may have been responsible for the mistake."
“Then we put a proposal on the measures needed to prevent the repetition of the occurrence. Meanwhile, our company is a business where there is always a risk of human error, that can’t be avoided,” explained Myrsell.
The incident has now been reported to the health board in accordance with Sweden's Lex Maria, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.
SOS Alarm has come under fire in recent months as the company has been suggested as being responsible for three deaths, in three separate cases, where the ambulance response time was slow or it didn't turn up at all.
According to SR, SOS Alarm handles some 1.5 million cases every year that require emergency response.