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SOS service under review after ambulance errors

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SOS service under review after ambulance errors
07:33 CEST+02:00
Sweden's emergency response service SOS Alarm has been put under review by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

The board has acted to review SOS Alarm's ambulance prioritising after a man died after having been refused an ambulance.

A further five cases will be reviewed in which the refusal or delay of an ambulance has meant that patients were unnecessarily endangered.

"We can conclude that it is a very risky business. It is a question of life and death if you are not prioritised or don't get help in time. Then of course in this type of operation you can't expect to get an priority one ambulance within five minutes all over Sweden, but you can demand that the operation learns from these incidents," said Maria Carlund at the board to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily.

In Gothenburg last year a woman died from renal failure and pneumonia after having been refused an ambulance the day before. In April 23-year-old Emil Linnell died of a ruptured spleen after being refused an ambulance.

As a result of the case, which gained a great deal of attention in the media at the time, SOS Alarm reported the case to the health board in accordance with 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.

A further case involves a man who was told to buy cough medicine while he was in fact suffering from a heart attack at the time, SvD reported.

All of the cases concern incidents where the patients have been either refused an ambulance or have had to wait to long that they have either died or sustained permanent injury as a result.

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