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Swede 'engulfed in flames' after US surgery

Vivian Tse · 11 Oct 2010, 13:05

Published: 11 Oct 2010 13:05 GMT+02:00

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"I don't want to talk about it," Malgorzata Jakobsson of Trångsund south of Stockholm told The Local on Monday, refusing to comment further citing the impending litigation.

Jakobsson received treatment in February 2009 for thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that compresses the blood vessels near the collarbone, at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

After undergoing a special procedure that uses a high-frequency current to destroy tissue, she woke up with burns and in pain, according to the lawsuit.

"There are those who say that the United States has the best health care in the world, but Mrs. Jakobsson wasn't engulfed in flames in a Swedish operating room. She had to come to Omaha for that experience," the woman's attorney Maren Chaloupka told the AP news service.

Jakobsson is suing the hospital and Dr. Åke Nyström for medical malpractice. The Swedish doctor has treated hundreds of patients for pain ailments since moving to the US in 1994. Many of his patients are Swedes thanks to the media attention he receives in Sweden.

After initially practicing at the University of Pittsburgh, he moved to the Nebraska Medical Center in 2001 and has headed the University of Nebraska Medical Center Whiplash Program since 2003.

Although patients have praised Nyström for curing their pain entirely, other doctors are skeptical of his methods.

"On the surface, it sounds a bit outrageous, but one can't categorically say there isn't anything to it," Dr. James Campbell, a neurosurgeon and pain specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, told AP in a 2004 article posted on the hospital's website.

Added Dr. David Apple, an orthopedic surgeon and medical director of Atlanta's Shepherd Center, which specialises in pain management, "If a patient thinks you're doing something that is going to help them, the mind over matter sort of takes over. It's sort of an old adage - you can't cut out pain."

Story continues below…

The lawsuit filed by Jakobsson alleges that hospital workers performing the procedure knew the equipment could reach several hundred degrees and produce sparks, but failed to take reasonable measures to prevent a fire.

Hospital spokesman Paul Baltes told the AP that the hospital has investigated the fire and taken steps to improve the procedure to prevent further fires.

Jakobsson seeks more than $75,000 in damages to cover the costs of cosmetic surgery to repair the damage and has requested a jury trial.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:45 October 11, 2010 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
Why did a Swedish woman travel to the US to visit a Swedish doctor?
14:59 October 11, 2010 by dammen
I think the local needs an editor or at least a proofreader before posting their articles - there is repetition in this one

As I spend most of my time copy editing, it is getting a little tiresome reading these articles that are full of mistakes - it detracts from the content of the article.
17:02 October 11, 2010 by JulieLou40
@ dammen-I totally agree with you. Despite readers constantly pointing these things out, The Local never improve. I can't wait til my Swedish is fluent, and then I never have to read this shitty site ever again.

@ iswpt-Maybe she lives in the States? Lol.
19:13 October 11, 2010 by swedeb
hehe.. funny trying to belittle U.S. medical practices and the doctor involved is Swedish. But, as if there aren't accidents in every single country in the world...
20:17 October 11, 2010 by rc franden
as a person who had 2 medical procedures go wrong the best way to avoid is to get at least two doctors to confirm your problem let alone check the doctors track record did this patient do this?
20:28 October 11, 2010 by Karloskar
@ dammen while TL is certainly guilty of editing errors on a not infrequent basis, I can't see anything wrong with this article...of course, I'm not a professional copy editor...
20:43 October 11, 2010 by Nemesis
A swede goes to the USA to be operated on and a Swede goes to the USA to operate on a Swede.

Sounds like these two were made for each other.
23:56 October 11, 2010 by Tdye
the title is crap

Swede 'engulfed in flames' after US surgery

first off it makes it sound like the US screwed up the surgery

next how exactly do you become 'engulfed in flames' AFTER the surgery?

it should have read

"Swede received burns after a Swedish Doctor preformed surgery on her in a US hospital"

it is funny tht instead of suing the doctor that was supposed to tell the person of all the pros and cons of the surgery that she is going to sue the American Hospital..which i dont blame her.. the US is full of BS lawsuits.. and in 10 years when this law suite hasn't been to court yet.. she wiil drop it im sure

i dont fault her for suing but it isnt the hospitals fault it is the Doctors fault she that is the reason why US health care is so expensive people trying to get rich quick off the medical field.. too bad she sighed a waver stating the facts of the operation and the risks.. she will get nothing
02:59 October 12, 2010 by StockholmSam
Who in the world is "Chaloupka"?

The Local strikes again.
06:13 October 12, 2010 by ISayWhatPeopleThink

"Chaloupka" refers to "Maren Chaloupka", her attorney. Guess The Local edited too much. Good catch StockholmSam, I missed that the first time.

Though I like to imagine in my mind that some mystical creature named "Chaloupka" suddenly popped up during the interview giving his random opinion on the article to the journalist. LAWL.

Hmm...may need to change my username to that. "Chaloupka" would make a great handle. :P
09:29 October 12, 2010 by americanska
She got the operation in the US because Sweden either doesn't offer it at all or they refused it to her. ( rationing)

The doctor is in the US for the same reason a lot of foreign medical professionals from abroad go to the US. Because they want to make better money and work with better resources.
13:51 October 12, 2010 by shame, shame
interesting article. Can't see what you people are complaining about.

@Julielou - Personally I find The Local to match the standards of the Swedish dailies, despite presumably much more sparse resources. In some cases I think TL even offers a fresher angle on a sometimes stale Swedish media climate.
18:03 October 14, 2010 by banuazizi
She probably went to USA to have the operation because she was tired of waiting here, taking pain killer medicine. Or perhaps the bureaucracy of seeing a specialist was the reason.
19:57 March 22, 2011 by Lori B
As I am a former patient of the highly skilled Dr Nystrom and his staff at UNMC, I feel more than qualified to add my opinion on his abilities in the OR . The man has always been nothing but totally honest and extremely top notch . If you need your life saved like I did, this is the man to see .... I would not hesitate for a moment to have him and his team operate on any member of my family.

" To repeat a lie does not make it a truth " applies very much in this story .
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