‘What will he wear when he is dead?’

Birger Lundberg died in November 2006 after a spell at an old people's home in the eastern town of Valdemarsvik. Shortly before his death Birger's brother and sister paid him a visit.

Their brother, though seriously ill, was still in possession of all his faculties and they were all engaged in conversation when a nurse came in to ask a question.

“What clothes is Birger going to wear when he is dead and lying in the coffin?” she asked.

Bengt Lundberg, Birger’s brother, is still furious when he thinks back on the encounter.

“It is so incredibly insulting that it is hard to believe it’s true,” he told newspaper Norrköpings Tidningar.

The deceased man’s brother has tried to get the local council to report the matter in accordance with Lex Sarah, a law obliging staff in the care industry to report instances of mistreatment to social services. But so far nothing has happened.

“If a person receives such a serious insult at the end of their life it has to come out into the open,” said Bengt Lundberg.

Rather than report the matter however the manager of the old people’s home and the nurse in question have written a formal letter of apology to Bengt Lundberg. In the letter the manager, Bertil Sterner, explained that the incident had led to staff being given a day of additional training regarding interaction with clients and their families.

Sterner also added that discussions had been held with the nurse and that they had agreed on a plan for the future.