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17-year-old dies after ambulance no-show

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.

The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:03 February 9, 2012 by StockholmSam
"SOS Alarm claim that there was an error with the prioritizing of the case, resulting in the case not being treated as an emergency."

I'm sorry, but under what circumstances exactly would an ambulance dispatch not be considered an emergency? Did the ambulance drivers stop off for a latte on the way?
18:10 February 9, 2012 by Valdemaratterdag
@StockholmSam,

Nope, they stopped off for a fika.
18:22 February 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Agree that this particular event sounds tragic and also ridiculous.

They should always patch the parent's call through to at least one person who is on board the ambulance, so that the ambulance person can assess the situation in advance and as it progresses, both to assess the degree of urgency, and also to prepare for a rapid treatment strategy when they arrive at the scene.

This would reduce instances of tragically incompetent dispatching.
18:23 February 9, 2012 by insect
definiely fika
18:26 February 9, 2012 by Abe L
"SOS Alarm claim that there was an error with the prioritizing of the case, resulting in the case not being treated as an emergency."

Translates to: "We don't have enough resources." You shouldn't be prioritizing 911 calls, they ALL need IMMEDIATE response with actual people in the field.
18:40 February 9, 2012 by Already in use
"the ambulance response time was slow or non-existent."

Ah. I have never heard of a time being slow. And a non-existent ambulance response time would mean to me that they responded immediately. Somehow I doubt that's what this sentence was supposed to say.
19:01 February 9, 2012 by zooeden
Question to the Forum, this is case number what, in which result turns into death???

Heads should be rolling by now!!!
19:20 February 9, 2012 by VicTaulic
Ambulances are WAY overrated. Note to all you Swedes: Studies have shown that the best outcomes are achieved when sick people are transported to a hospital quickly. It makes no difference if it is an ambulance or a taxi cab. "Stay and Play" is what proved fatal to poor Princess Di. The paramedic wasted time doing all sorts of ditzy things when she should have been put in the vehicle and pedal-to-the-metal.
20:12 February 9, 2012 by meela
i feel so sorry for the nurses who work the ambulance. My sister is a ambulance nurse in stockholm, their working situation is TERRIBLE!!! Just the other day she had 6 hours overtime on one shift. This happens every week. The Falk who operates the ambulance work their nurses to hard. they are expected to have 90 plus days a year overtime without the money for it.

The nurses are working their asses off and all they get is crap from the media. They are tired and overworked, no wonder things happen when u work 29 hours on one shift...
21:45 February 9, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Last night there was a young man with a gun shooting it off into the air at the local tire shop. Many calls to our 911 system and in a matter of 5 minutes there were 10 police cars and several ambulances and fire trucks right there to deal with the situation. Why is it so complicated in Sweden?
22:03 February 9, 2012 by krrodman
@VicTualic

You are misinformed about the Princess Di situation. Unlike most every other country, the French send a doctor to the site to assess and determine the urgency of the situation. The French believe it unburdens emergency rooms to have the patient assessed and treated in the field. Princess Diana's only chance of survival was to get into an operating room as quickly as possible. That said, a ruptured pulmonary vein is almost always a fatal injury.

An interesting comparison is the attempted assassination of President Reagan. The bullet ruptured a pulmonary vein. His condition was so precarious that he received 6 units of "uncrossmatched" blood and went directly to the operating room. He survived.
23:17 February 9, 2012 by BillyB
@zooeden

totally agree..time and time again its the same excuses but people continue to die. such a tragedy
23:38 February 9, 2012 by jan.petras
Guys, guys. Lemme tell you one quick sad joke.

The ambulance system in Romania is better. Yeah.

You know what?

It's funny 'cuz its true.
04:12 February 10, 2012 by VicTaulic
Well, the Lady Di doctor was an idiot, then. I remember he was fooling around putting in a central line or something. Get her in the truck and move. I think the French medical establishment were covering things up a bit. In fact, no where in literature has a doc on the truck proved to be of any real use. It is the hospital and its facilities that matter. ..But to amend my previous post, the best type of hospital transport would be a taxi-cab equipped with an automatic defibrillator. Actually, you can buy those now, and they are easy to use. Got a sick old person at home who is in distress? Throw them in your car, slap on the AD pads, turn the AD on, and MOVE!!
06:30 February 10, 2012 by Decedo
Wow, this is a sad recurring story in Sweden. How many more deaths will it take to re-vamp the health service departments? If it isn't the ambulance, then it's emergency waiting lines, or care giver neglect that results in patient death.
07:41 February 10, 2012 by Borilla
Let's see. SOS Alarm called to get you to care. IF they manage to get you to care, who is providing it? Carema. The odds aren't good are they? Time to regularly audit the contract health care providers to assure that they are providing the services they agreed to provide with sufficient and proper personnel to do the job. That means sufficient properly trained employees to do the job without being overworked.
07:50 February 10, 2012 by Kevin Harris
@ Vic Taulic

You are being unfair. Diana suffered a severely ruptured pulmonary artery. The only thing that kept her alive was her seating position that closed the tear. When she was lifted from her seat, several times, her stats dropped to near death as the tear opened and she bled out. After a very detailed post mortem, doctors agree it was a hopeless situation for thefirst on scene medical team.
08:15 February 10, 2012 by VicTaulic
Think about it. She was dropping her sats when she was moved, SO DON'T MOVE HER?! If they suspected a massive internal hemorrhage, all the more reason to get her on the truck. Load and go. NO reason to stay and place a central line. And she was there for a half an hour. Sorry. I hope EMS services everywhere at least learned from this.
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