Swine flu toddler dies in Swedish hospital

A 3-year-old boy suffering from the swine flu died at the weekend at the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital in Stockholm, infuriating the child’s parents who had sought care for him earlier in the week.

Swine flu toddler dies in Swedish hospital

While test results showed the 3-year-old Simon Hamko was infected with the A/H1N1 virus, it remains unclear what role the swine flu may have played in causing his death.

“We can’t yet pronounce the cause of death, but we’re planning to perform an autopsy so we can do so,” Stefan Engqvist, head physician at Karolinska hospital, told the TT news agency.

Simon’s parents, Rozin and Jack Hamko, first sought care for their son early last week when he started exhibiting symptoms commonly associated with the swine flu, including a high fever, coughing, and vomiting.

“I said that we were losing our son. He hadn’t had any food or water for five days,” father Jack told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Nevertheless, the doctor at Astrid Lindgren’s who examined Simon said the boy was suffering from a virus which his body could fight off without any treatment.

As the toddler suffered from an undiagnosed muscular disorder, he belonged to one of the risk groups which is supposed to be given priority for the swine flu vaccine, but had not yet received the vaccine.

Swine flu never entered the discussion, however, during the Hamkos’ initial visit to the hospital, where the parents were told to keep giving Simon fluids and sent home.

Simon’s conditioned worsened, however, and late on Friday his parents took him back to Astrid Lindgren’s emergency room where they were required to wait nearly 30 minutes before being seen.

Finally recognizing the severity of Simon’s condition, doctors then took him to intensive care, but were unable to revive him when his heart suddenly stopped in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“He died in our arms,” the boy’s father said to Aftonbladet.

At the time of Simon’s death, doctors said the boy was suffering from pneumonia and myocardial inflammation, but his parents learned the following morning that their son had also tested positive for the swine flu.

On Monday, Karolinska’s Enqvist attributed Simon’s death to unsuccessful treatment.

“He was subject to a treatment which wasn’t successful and later died,” he told TT.

But the child’s parents remain critical of the way their case was handled.

“Those who seek help have to be taken seriously. Doctors can’t react like soulless people who lack any feelings,” said Simon’s father, who remains convinced that his son would have lived if he’d been admitted to hospital upon his first visit.

The doctor who initially treated Simon refused to comment on the matter to Aftonbladet on Sunday.

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Russia smears Pippi Longstocking author as Nazi in propaganda posters

Russia has launched a poster campaign in Moscow featuring ostensibly pro-Nazi quotes from the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the film-maker Ingmar Bergman, and the Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad. "We are against Nazism, but they are not," the poster reads.

Russia smears Pippi Longstocking author as Nazi in propaganda posters

Oscar Jonsson, a researcher at the Swedish Defence University, tweeted out a picture of photograph of a Moscow bus stop carrying the propaganda poster, which has the word ‘they’ written in the colours of the Swedish flag. 

Another poster accuses King Gustaf V of being a Nazi. 

Jonsson told The Local he was certain that the posters were genuine, but suspected that they were intended for Swedish consumption, as at least one of them had been placed outside the Swedish Embassy in Moscow. 

“They’re more of a provocation to Sweden than something for the Russian people,” he said. 

Mikael Östlund, communication chief at Sweden’s Psychological Defence Agency, argued the opposite case, that the posters were primarily designed to justify the war in Ukraine to Russia’s own population. 

“Accusing western countries of Nazism is a part of the justification for their own war,” he said. “This is probably directed towards its own population. This has been one of the justifications for the war in Ukraine as well.” 

Others even suggested they might even be a preparation for military action .

“Are there any limits to these guys? Or are they preparing a ‘denazifying’ operation against Sweden as well?” tweeted Sweden’s former prime minister Carl Bildt

The Swedish foreign ministry said it was aware of the posters, but refused to comment. 

“We have no intention of engaging in a public polemic with the Russian organisation ‘Our Victory’, which is reportedly behind these posters,” a spokesperson told TT.  “In Russia, smears about ‘Nazism’ have been used repeatedly against countries and individuals who are critical of Russia’s actions.” 

At a press conference in Germany, Sweden’s prime minister called the campaign “completely unacceptable”. 

“But it is important to say already right now that Sweden could become the target of an influence campaign by foreign powers,” she said. “It’s important that all Swedes, and not least those of you in journalism, recognise that there is a risk that foreign powers will try to influence the Swedish debate climate.”