Refugee child denied care by Swedish hospital

A hospital in central Sweden refused to perform an operation on a 16-year-old unaccompanied refugee boy because the doctor didn't think the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) would pay for the procedure.

The boy, originally from Somalia, sought treatment for a broken arm that hadn’t healed properly, Svergies Radio (SR) reports.

Pain from the poorly healed break, which occurred while the boy was living in a transitional housing facility in Italy, made it difficult for him to sleep, prompting him to seek medical attention in Sweden.

He visited Kärnsjukhuset, the largest facility within the Skaraborg Hospital system in Skövde, where he had his arm x-rayed by an orthopedic specialist.

While the doctor said an operation was necessary, he refused to go ahead with the surgery in part because he claimed the hospital would only reimbursed by the Migration Board for emergency care.

Even though health authorities for Västra Götaland region explained to the hospital that Swedish laws stipulate that children seeking asylum have the same right to healthcare as other children, the hospital nevertheless refused to treat the boy.

Now Mölndal municipality, where the 16-year-old first came when he first arrived in Sweden, has reported the hospital to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

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