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Badly burned 1-year-old denied ambulance

TT/The Local · 9 Aug 2009, 10:23

Published: 09 Aug 2009 10:23 GMT+02:00

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The boy had spilled a cup of hot tea on himself on Thursday and was burned on his face, neck and trunk. His mother immediately called SOS Alarm, the agency responsible for handling 112 emergency calls and coordinating rescue work. She was told that they should go to the hospital on their own.

The journey to Huddinge Hospital took forty minutes. In Huddinge, the boy's condition was deemed serious and he was taken by ambulance to Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital.

“What has happened is extremely unfortunate. It appears that we should have sent an ambulance. But I want to review the conversation before I say anything more,” Britt Stålhandske, deputy director of operations at SOS Alarm in Stockholm, told Aftonbladet.

Story continues below…

On Sunday, Aftonbladet reported of another incident in Falun in central Sweden involving a one-year-old with blood poisoning and a fever of 39.2 degrees Celsius who was also denied an ambulance. The incident has since been reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:17 August 10, 2009 by Che-che
My first two weeks in Stockholm, I saw a woman trip and fall down a short flight of stairs and land flat on her face in front of a residential building. I argued with the 112 operator to send an ambulance for nearly 10 minutes as this woman was profusely bleeding from her face- and not to mention in agonizing pain. The woman was was over 80 years old, spoke no English, I spoke no Swedish and the operator wanted me to hail a cab and put her in it and send her on her way. All this while 4 people walked by looking, "but not looking"- A man who was doing work on the outside of the building must have heard the argument and made himself known to me and rang a second time to 112 and finally had someone who thought it was serious enough to send an ambulance.

On the flip-side, I fainted once while in Sweden and the ambulance was there very fast (so I was told).

I guess it depends who you get on the phone- there should be some kind of an s.o.p. for this.
10:52 August 10, 2009 by krzyz21
I know an incident where a pregnant woman, bleeding profusely in the middle of the night was denied ambulance service. The reason, you stay very close to the hospital that you can walk and if you can not walk, take a taxi. But the idiot didn't understand that she was bleeding profusely and this is middle of the night. The woman fainted as soon as she was out of the building. (I don't really blame them for just starting to walk as even they thought that they would make it to the hospital without any problem.) Fortunately, couple of girls walking home and a bus driver that was about leave the bus stop saw the woman fainting. All of these folks helped the couple to reach the hospital.

They did complain to the doctor and the doctor confirmed them that he will look into it but no follow up was done.

Say it loudly folks, Jag bör in Sverige.
11:53 August 10, 2009 by Puffin
You ought to go in Sweden ....what??????

Or did you mean

"Jag bor i Sverige"? (I live in Sweden)

Perhaps this explains the problem - noone could understand you
12:25 August 10, 2009 by svenskdod

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Wasn't Sweden hailed as having the best healthcare systems in the world a few years ago?

Can anyone say "cutbacks?" It would not suprise me if it was found that the opperators had been told by their supervisors to "filter" the calls. This in turn had come down from the top in a way to bring the Healthcare budget down.

The economy is bad, but people are surviving. If this gets any worse, people will die.

All this when things like asylum seekers are given a free ride for three years. Maybe some of that money could go into the healthcare budget?
14:07 August 10, 2009 by Puffin
Love the clichés

I think that part of the problem of this case lies in the fact that

a. the mother was a nurse

b. the accident at face value did not sound serious

The fact that a very calm mother (who was calm enough to drive) rang to say that her child had split a cup of tea on himself - probably a mixture of her calm demenour and the nature of the accident gave the impression that this was a minor domestic accident (wrongly ovbiously) - we had the same problem in Norway when our daughter had a serious accident (falling 10 feet onto her head from a sleeping loft) - where because Mr Puffin works in healthcare and was so calm on the phone they did not realise that the accident was serious - but as soon as they did they swung into action - as they did in this case.

Of course the nurse on duty at SOS filters the calls and prioritises ambulances to serious cases - Obviously it was really the wrong decision in this case - yet in 99.9% of cases spilling a hot drink on a child results in very minor injuries - so what they need is better procedures to identify the really serious cases.
17:39 August 10, 2009 by I Love it when ...
thats pretty vile of the ambulance ... hope the baby is alright
23:33 August 10, 2009 by xykat
This doesn't surprise me.

I hope there is an investigation and someone gets fired for this but it probably will just be ignored.

A social health system is great but there needs to be checks and balances. Doctors and medical staff need to be punished if they make major mistakes especially if it costs someone their lives or permanent damage to their bodies.
12:31 August 11, 2009 by Hedley
I am a non EU medical doctor (a baddy one?). An dispatcher may be not a medical doctor; but is mom did not give enough data (at that time) or he did not ask the right questions.

In my believe, he deserve punishment if he did not ask the right questions or he violated the protocol.

A child (less than 10 years old) have a very small amount of skin area. Face, trunk and neck may compromise more than a half of body surface if there is not spared regions (every part of them?). If anterior neck is involved and or face airway could be compromised and the child could die at any moment in the way to the hospital.

Also, this is a major burn: more than a half of skin may be involved!!! The first barrier of immune system is totally breached. He is prone to infectious diseases within the hospital that are really hard die bugs, regardless the delay in the ambulance... so there is a chance that this child can die anyway!
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