SOS Alarm in Uppsala, central Sweden, marked the call "urgent" when the young man called in to ask for an ambulance. But the ambulance staff didn't get that information, instead the paramedics were told it was a "Priority 2" situation, a less urgent call.
The less urgent category meant that the ambulance staff turned back when they arrived at the address and no one opened the door.The 30-year-old was later found dead. He had suffered a brain hemorrhage.
His three sisters have said emergency services should have taken the call more seriously.
"Anyone who listened to the phone call can hear that he's having such troubles breathing that it had to be serious," the oldest sister told the local Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT) newspaper. "And that an ambulance should have been sent out straight away."
The sister also criticized that the SOS Alarm operator who received the call didn't ask follow up questions about her brother's difficulties breathing.
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UNT reported that Uppsala University Hospital (Akademiska) said the blame lay with SOS Alarm, not with them or their ambulance staff. It was not clear from media reports whether the man's life could have been saved had the ambulance staff persisted when they reached his address.