Woman given cancer medicine to treat headache

An elderly woman in Karlshamn in southern Sweden went to her local pharmacy to get a prescription to treat her headaches. She was instead given a potential lethal treatment against breast cancer, according to local newspaper Sydöstran.

The woman’s prescription should have cost her 178 kronor ($22) but instead she was asked to pay 3,515 kronor. While this seemed slightly steep to the woman, she elected to pay anyway.

But the medicine she had in fact been given was a powerful cytotoxic drug to treat breast cancer.

The woman detected the mistake only when she first read the instructions on the side of the package and realized that the medicine was not the one that she needed to treat her headache.

In addition the dose that she was given is reported to have been triple the normal dose and had she consumed the medicine could have been lethal.

The state-owned pharmacy chain Apoteket will now launch an internal investigation into the case and plans to file a report with the health authorities in accordance with Sweden’s Lex Maria medical laws.


Swede finds ‘dead’ boyfriend breathing

A Swedish man declared dead in hospital was resuscitated after his girlfriend, who came to say her final goodbye, realized he was still breathing.

Swede finds 'dead' boyfriend breathing

The incident in May 2012 in Värmland County has left the 31-year-old man with memory glitches, balance problems and recurring nightmares, he said in a report of the incident to the National Health Board (Socialstyrelsen).

“Lucky for me that my girlfriend was there, without her I wouldn’t be here today,” he wrote.

His girlfriend, who also submitted her account of events in the medical malpractice report, said she was told by a nurse 30 minutes after taking her boyfriend to the emergency room that he had passed away.

Yet upon entering the room with the nurse and speaking with two doctors, she saw her boyfriend exhale. The medical staff explained that the body was simply getting rid of carbon dioxide.

But upon the girlfriend’s insistence, they restarted resuscitation attempts once they had sent her back to the waiting room.

About 20 minutes later, a doctor informed her they were trying to revive him despite initially thinking he was brain dead. She said the doctor warned there could be permanent damage.

The reason the 31-year-old was rushed to hospital is not detailed in the account, but his girlfriend asks why there was not more knowledge of the effects of Lyrica, an anti-convulsant and anti-anxiety drug.

“The staff should know more about Lyrica, e.g. that ingesting it causes dilated pupils,” the complaint read.

“If I had left, what would have happened to him?” she added.

Her boyfriend says he is now unable to work. He suffers memory lapses and concentration difficulties. Despite being offered work installing ventilation, his profession for a decade before last year’s incident, he turned it down.

“My job requires mental and physical strength. And I feel I’ve lost my mathematical thinking,” he wrote.

“I noticed it when I tried putting up two shelves on a wall and had to give up. I felt sad and frustrated when I realized this had to be because of brain damage.”

The young man said he now has to put up notes everywhere so he won’t forget things, but is plagued by frequent worrying.

He also said he felt violated by being declared dead without being further examined.

“I hope this never happens to anyone else!!!”

The Local/at

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