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Man died after calls for ambulance ignored

A 23-year-old man from Stockholm died after emergency help line operators opted not to send an ambulance, despite the man's repeated calls for help.

Man died after calls for ambulance ignored

The man first called SOS Alarm, Sweden’s emergency response service, in the early hours of January 30th, telling operators he was having trouble breathing, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

The nurse who took the call nevertheless judged the man’s condition to not be life threatening.

A short time later, the 23-year-old called again, explaining that he had fainted as soon as he had tried stand up, but again, no ambulance was sent.

“They talked for a total of 12 minutes. Our son repeated time and again that he needed an ambulance and wondered if one was on its way. He even opened the door so that it would get inside. But help never arrived,” the 23-year-old’s stepfather told DN.

The on-duty nurse instead referred the case to an on-call doctor, who called the 23-year-old several times, but never received an answer.

However, no other emergency personnel were sent to the man’s residence to check on his condition.

Several hours later the 23-year-old was found dead by a neighbour. The cause of death was a ruptured spleen.

The man’s stepfather told the newspaper that his son had been suffering from periodic fevers and abdominal pain for months prior to the incident. Despite several health clinic visits, no relevant tests were taken to get to the bottom of the 23-year-old’s ailment.

SOS Alarm has now referred the case to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) according to Sweden’s Lex Maria, the informal name used to refer to regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

The 23-year-old’s parents have also reported those responsible at SOS Alarm.

“Our own investigation of what has happened and the health board’s investigation isn’t over yet, said Lars Engström, head doctor at SOS Alarm, to the TT news agency.

He added, however, that the nurse who took the call no longer works for the emergency call service.

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TRANSGENDER

Sweden to stop calling transgender people ‘mentally ill’

Transgender people will no longer be classified as “mentally ill” in Sweden, the country’s main national health authority has announced, in a decision widely criticised as overdue.

Sweden to stop calling transgender people 'mentally ill'
An archive picture of Swedes protesting against classifying transgender people as mentally ill. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT
Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen, announced late on Friday that it would no longer automatically apply the diagnosis “gender dysphoria” to transgender patients.
 
“…more than anything, this change has an important symbolic value,” Kristina Bränd Persson, the organisation’s head, said in a press release. “This is a completely reasonable change. Many divisions and categories are obsolete. For us, the decision is uncontroversial. We tend to follow the changes the WHO makes.” 
 
The decision was widely ridiculed on Twitter.  
 
“At fucking bloody last!” tweeted Leo Ringqvist. “We are not ill, most of all mentally.”  
 

“Wake me! Is it 2017 or 1817,” complained Ewa-Maria Åström. 
 

 
The move follows a decision made by the World Health Organisation in October to remove the transsexualism classification from the chapter on mental illness in its diagnostic guide.  
 
“This is welcome but no surprise,” said Frida Sandegård, chairperson of RFSL, which lobbies for the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender people.  
 
Transgender people have complained of receiving unwelcome questions and stigmatising treatment when dealing with health professionals in Sweden. 
 
The agency said the change would not take place immediately, as it would first have to incorporate the decision into its own national version of ICD-10, the latest disease classification manual issued by the WHO. 
 
The work is expected to be completed this year.