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Child's appendix bursts after 20 hour ER wait

Published: 19 Nov 2012 16:36 GMT+01:00

"The only treatment he received was morphine and paracetamol tablets so he didn't die from the pain," Jesper, the father of nine-year-old William Strömgren, told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

William arrived at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm last Thursday after suffering stomach pains for days. He was immediately diagnosed with appendicitis, but then nothing happened.

After having his operation repeatedly pushed back by doctors, William's desperate parents were told by the chief surgeon that an operation would only be possible if it was carried out "the old-fashioned way", rather than using a procedure which resulted in less scarring.

"There was only one overnight operating room to handle all of Stockholm's children," William's father told DN.

"I'm convinced that if we hadn't demanded to speak with the chief surgeon we would have had to wait yet another night."

But by the time doctors operated on the nine-year-old, his appendix had already burst, resulting in an extended hospital stay, two weeks of missed school, and no ice hockey for young William until after Christmas.

"If they had operated sooner, I'd be home now," the nine-year-old told the paper.

Employees at the hospital acknowledged that patient safety is in jeopardy.

"Tough budget cuts, staff shortages, and recruitment difficulties have unfortunately put more pressure on surgeries and meant that children and parents have had to wait longer as a result," a hospital employee told DN.

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Your comments about this article

16:24 November 19, 2012 by John_berg
What a shameful act.. its the govt who should be blamed which never pays any attention towards these problems.. Medical system is not fit in any way ... people go for something and the doctors do something else.. atleast the govt can make the rules harder for the doctors, why is always the common man pushed to the limits.. Swedes try to follow US in every possible way why not here then .. why cant one sue a doctor in this country ?? We pay such heavy taxes all our life but this is what we get in return - sick medical system.
17:57 November 19, 2012 by procrustes
Let's not go off half-cocked: we need to know all of the facts. All we know is one side of the story, which appears on its face as horrific, but we need to know the other side of the story before calling out the mob, firing up the torches and tying hangman's knots.
18:08 November 19, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
The government knows all about these problems. It orchestrates the nightmare.

God help those who are tortured and murdered by the Swedish state.
18:10 November 19, 2012 by robban70226
Whats wrong in this country lately, health system, trains, assaults, robberies.. the country is collapsing and the politicians only care about taking a stick of pipe and insult others?
21:07 November 19, 2012 by cogito
"we need to know the other side of the story..." (#2)

The other side of the story is that it was fika time.

And no, the abysmal state of Swedish health care has nothing to do with budget cuts. It is the system, ruled by bureaucrats.
21:25 November 19, 2012 by wxman
I can hardly wait for Obamacare to kick in over here in 2014. Then we too will be able to enjoy top notch socialist medicine!
22:16 November 19, 2012 by Swedishmyth
I know economics isn't taught in Swedish schools but it's a simple fact that price controls lead to rationing. This fact remains the same whether you're dealing with gasoline in 1970's america, bread in the Soviet Union, or healthcare in Sweden.

It seems Swedish people want the benefits of a free market (competition, innovation, customer service) while not actually permitting one to operate. Truly private businesses must please their customers in order to survive. How much can you reasonably expect from workers who can't be fired nor sued?
22:41 November 19, 2012 by javalava
Perhaps Sweden should allocate their foreign development assistance to health care & employment program instead. Why should Sweden give money to solve other countries' problems. Why not give it to increase health care services for the tax payers?
22:59 November 19, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Socialized medicine at its best . . . NOT!
23:22 November 19, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
@javalava That's exactly what I'd like to know as well!

The "free" healthcare here continues to rise: I pay a minimum of 150 kronor for a "normal" doctors visit (and more for specialists), and then another 50-200 kronor for each prescription medicine.

I'd love to know where all this tax money goes to here. It sure doesn't come back to the people in any type of actual benefit.
04:25 November 20, 2012 by capt
"I can hardly wait for Obamacare to kick in over here in 2014. Then we too will be able to enjoy top notch socialist medicine!"

+1 wxman

Looking forward to my 20hr wait to see the govt. nurse.
06:53 November 20, 2012 by Alexey-nsk
As in Africa.
16:31 November 20, 2012 by cattie
@cogito has it right, it is not budget cuts causing this... it is a system reliant on a morality and work ethic of a bygone era. Where the consequence of simply being embarrassed that one failed in one's job was enough to motivate healthcare workers to give quality care. There are still such doctors and nurses, but they are dumbed down by a system that excuses mediocrity even in acute circumstances.
10:22 November 21, 2012 by nolikegohome
its all about compassion. There is lack of it in the health system. They just do not care.
08:55 November 22, 2012 by RosemarysBaby80
You are all so full of crap. My wife is a doctor and she and her colleagues and all our doctor friends work like dogs. You all talk as if the American medical system is something to be admired. Are you joking?!!

When I was 17 my family went (from Australia) to America to seek the best medical treatment for my mothers brain tumour, after being convinced by a relative that, that is where we could find the best doctors. The doctor strolled in (late), and without looking up from his clipboard ordered she undergo Chemotherapy (duh). Then walked out and we never saw him again(anyone want to guess how much that 30 seconds cost us?). 1 year later she was dead.

USA!USA! Yeah, so much better than every where else. If you truly believe that lie, then F-off back to the land of the "free" and the home of the grave.

FYI. Sweden has private hospitals.
11:37 November 22, 2012 by cogito
RosemarysBaby (#15)

Less rant and more facts, please.

Questions:

Why didn't Australia provide treatment for your mother? Australians boast about their wonderful "free" health care.

After the Australian system failed you, why did you expect that American doctors should treat your mother for free (as you seem astonished you had to pay)?

At what stage was the tumor when you transported your mother to the U.S.? Some brain tumors are inoperable, in which case chemotherapy is the only option. And yes, even with intensive chemotherapy, many patients die within one year.

Your ire is misguided. Rather than the tired old "blame America" reflex, you should direct your rant at Australia, where your own system failed to help your mother.
14:44 November 22, 2012 by RosemarysBaby80
Cognito,

Please show me where I stated that the Australian health care system failed my mother. Oh, that's right, you can't, because I didn't, because your an idiot.

I will not humour your pathetic comment with all the details of my mother demise. But I will say that the Australian health care system did not fail her.

If you were not such an flag waving idiot you would probably be able to see that my comment simply points out that the American health care system is no better than a universal health care system, but they'll charge you through the nose for it anyway.
05:30 November 24, 2012 by Archie1954
I think something like this should require the Minister of Health to resign. Not only was a child almost lost but the extra care that a burst appendix necessitated cost the health system big money when it is trying to save money.
20:48 November 24, 2012 by james_g
Two general observations:

(1) the idea of medicine as a vocation, i.e. as something you do because you want to rather than to screw as much money out of the system/the sick/the disabled etc as possible seems to have gone out of the window for a significant number of doctors, surgeons, nurses et al - though by no means for the majority!

(2) and VERY apposite: governments, health 'managers' and bean counters (aka a lot of accountants) are (allegedly) trying to make the provision of health care and treatment more efficient when the bottom line should surely be to make it more EFFECTIVE! The two ain't the same! Closing wards to make more intensive use of staff on the basis of average patient numbers looks a bit sick (!) when a serious epidemic comes along. Discharging patients at the earliest possible moment may make sense in terms of efficiency but it isn't very effective when it means they have to be re-admitted a few days later (though they do of course count as a new patient, thus adding brownie points for the managers). Pushing mentally ill people onto 'care in the community' is neither effective nor kind when the necessary care simply isn't there - might be considered efficient though!
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