Nataliya Tymchenko was diagnosed with hypothyroidism over 20 years ago in Ukraine before moving to Sweden seven years ago. Noticing an improvement in her condition, she stopped taking medication while living in Sweden.
She consulted a gynaecologist recently after her period had stopped for four months, who referred her to an endocrinologist.
After waiting for three weeks, Tymchenko called Vrinnevi hospital in Norrköping, where she now lives after moving from Finspång 30 kilometres northwest one and a half years ago. She was surprised to learn that she should contact the health care centre in Finspång instead.
Informing staff that she would take her case to the media, a nurse she had spoken with called back after 10 minutes and offered Tymchenko am appointment in two weeks, which she refused because she needed an appointment immediately.
"I was then told, 'If you don't like the system, go to Ukraine.' She was not very professional and not intelligent. I was very angry, so I went to the newspaper, there was no other way," Tymchenko recounted to The Local on Friday.
Tymchenko contacted the local Folkbladet newspaper, which reported on her case on Thursday. After the report ran, the hospital informed her on the same day that she had an appointment with an endocrinologist on February 9th.
When asked if contacting the newspaper played any role in getting the proper referral, Tymchenko said, "Yes, absolutely."
Hypothyroidism occurs due to a deficiency of thyroid hormones. While in Ukraine, Tymchenko's dosage for her medication was 100 milligrammes, but she wanted to resume taking the medication at a lower dosage.
Previously, she had gone to a hospital in Finspång, where they took her blood and sent the sample to nearby Linköping. At the time, she was given 50 milligrammes, which was too much for her at the time.
The nurse Tymchenko spoke to referred to this round of medication as the grounds for sending her back to the heathcare centre in Finspång.
"I felt better, I thought maybe I was getting better with the different climate, but I knew from the beginning I would have to take it for the rest of my life," Tymchenko said of not taking her medication when she first moved to Sweden.
"Now, I absolutely need to do it again, I need a doctor," she added.