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Swede forced to fake stroke to get x-ray

Published: 03 Oct 2012 15:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Oct 2012 15:17 GMT+02:00

A Swedish man has reported his local hospital after being forced to fake stroke symptoms to finally get an x-ray, following years of debilitating headaches and high blood pressure.

“I have filed a report so that this won’t happen to others,” Mats Johannesson told The Local.

Johannesson, who is in his forties and was working as a truck driver, fell ill some five years ago. After seeking medical help from his local clinic in Mellerud he was referred to the nearest hospital, the Norra Älvsborgs lasarett, but was sent home again with some painkillers.

“I asked for an x-ray but they didn’t think there was enough reason to carry one out,” Johannsesson said.

This continued on and off for the next five years. By last summer, Johannesson had gone to hospital by ambulance 47 times. Every time he was sent back by taxi – and without the x-ray he asked for.

“I have lived with this for so long now,” Johannesson said.

On the May 20th this year, Johannesson collapsed again but was sent home once more without an x-ray. When it happened again on July 19th Johannesson was determined not to be brushed off.

“I thought to myself ‘ I am going to get a scan this time’,” Johannesson told The Local.

When the doctor came to check him over, Johannesson therefore pretended to have had a stroke, making himself go limp on the left side of his body . When the attending physician asked him to touch his nose with his fingertips, he missed on purpose.

“And then they got worried and I was taken for an emergency x-ray straight away,” Johannesson said.

When they had performed the scan the doctor told him that there was no haemorrhage but that they had detected a tumour in his brain. He is now getting anti-retroviral drugs and is set to be admitted to hospital in two weeks.

Johannesson has now reported the hospital to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). The hospital is also conducting an internal investigation and mulling reporting itself in accordance with Lex Maria regulations on reporting instances of patient harm in the Swedish healthcare system.

“I am frankly furious with what has happened. I could have been spared all these years’ suffering. When I was put on the drugs the symptoms disappeared over night,” Johannesson told The Local.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:12 October 3, 2012 by lena_sverige
Unfortunately that is all about Swedish free medicine: waiting for months for an appointment and painkillers only until you're literally dying...
16:34 October 3, 2012 by micvau
I feel for this guy, i'm also currently in a similar situation where i have been having sever headaches on a regular basis. I've just been to the local health centre in Åre only to be given a number to their local Physiotherapest. The medical system here seems to lack professionamism and basic human understanding. It's not a nice feeling to feel that when a person has a serious medical issue and tries to seek medical help to be just turned away like it doesn't matter.

The most worrying thing is that these doctors seem to be to be allowed keep their positions. Victims should be allowed to seek compensation when put through something because of incompentant personal.
17:45 October 3, 2012 by voiceofreason
Did he say "Anti-retroviral drugs",

This guy has got AIDS.

I hope he gets a second scan before he endures an unwarranted surgery.
22:15 October 3, 2012 by Tom Anderson Thor
Voice of reason, please be quiet about things you know nothing about, accusing people of having AIDS.

"Recent studies have shown that inhibitors of the HIV aspartyl protease, which are widely used in HAART, have direct anti-angiogenic and antitumour effects that are unrelated to their antiviral activity. So these drugs might be used to treat cancer in patients who are not infected with HIV."

http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v4/n11/abs/nrc1479.html
22:26 October 3, 2012 by Flutterbye
And I thought the NHS was bad.
11:14 October 4, 2012 by EP
Another week another scary store of Swedish healthcare.
23:40 October 4, 2012 by voiceofreason
@Tom Anderson Thor

I might not be a doctor but your article gives me the impression that this is an experiment at its best.
06:06 October 6, 2012 by Abu Abdur Raheem
I think Sweden being a first world country does not have 1st world class medical system. The whole Swedish health system needs revamp. I really feel for this guy for getting such a lousy treatment from lousy medical staff.Hope he gets better soon.
22:54 October 15, 2012 by feathernoodle
I have a Swedish friend who tells me constantly how great the healthcare is in Sweden but I keep reading stories like these and wonder how much of that is true. My friend has a chronic illness that isn't very well managed (in my opinion), when they complain about pain or other symptoms they are having, they act like it is normal when I'm thinking "that would never happen to you in the U.S.". I know it's expensive here, but you don't have to fake a stroke to get an x-ray, find out you have a brain tumor then be SCHEDULED to be admitted to the hospital two weeks later, you would be admitted and treated immediately and be well on your way to getting better. Also, my friend recently mentioned buying private health insurance AND something about being a patient in a hospital recently, referring to "room mates" - when you're a patient in a hospital in Sweden, do you share a room with people?!
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