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Nurse charged over ambulance call fatality

TT/The Local/pvs · 28 Jul 2011, 13:25

Published: 28 Jul 2011 13:25 GMT+02:00

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The case dates back to the early hours of January 30th this year when the Stockholm man called SOS Alarm, a company operating emergency response services in several counties in Sweden, repeatedly and asked for an ambulance.

He had been experiencing difficulty breathing and had lost consciousness several times while he spoke with the nurse on the phone.

But the nurse adjudged that the symptoms did not sound serious enough, so no ambulance was dispatched.

The 23-year-old man was suffering from a ruptured spleen, a condition that requires emergency care, the prosecutor concluded.

A ruptured spleen causes breathing problems and affects circulation to the extent that it can cause a loss of consciousness, you feel pain and heavy anxiety.

The man rang SOS Alarm twice in the course of 13 minutes and related the symptoms which he was experiencing.

The prosecutor argued that the situation constituted an emergency and that an ambulance should have been dispatched without the highest priority. That no ambulance was sent, led directly to the man's death.

The crime is classified as "aggravated" as the prosecutor considers the offence to be a "conscious risk-taking of a serious nature".

The nurse has since been fired from his position and in April, after the story had received a great deal of media attention, the 23-year-old's family reported the matter to the police.

The nurse had at least ten years experience and had worked for SOS Alarm for just over a year. Over the course of his employment the company had received a total of three complaints from callers regarding his performance.

Story continues below…

SOS Alarm responded to the publicity of the case by referring the matter to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) 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.

The firm however lays the blame for the incident solely with its former employee.

The company's CEO, Johan Hedensjö, has previously argued that routines were not adhered to and that an ambulance should have been dispatched at an earlier stage.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:42 July 28, 2011 by Snoopy!
I think you mean "with" The Local .......quote : ambulance should have been dispatched without the highest priority
14:43 July 28, 2011 by andyron2
Finally the guily is charged.For once thought,nurse will walk carefree.
14:51 July 28, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Excuse me The Local. Everybody has published the young man who died because the "nurse" deniend the ambulance services. Either you learn to write according to the five W's ant the one H rule, or do not write stories. What kind of journalism is this.
16:42 July 28, 2011 by BillyB
@ J. L. Belmar

or...you could go read another site if you are not happy and stop moaning.

The Local has never claimed to be the shining star of the journalism world, its a news translation service to give non swedish speaking people a bit of insight into whats going on.

It not perfect, its not after the pulitzer prize, its a helpful free service which while sometimes is not perfect is great for the purpose its trying to achieve.

a bit of perspective please.....
16:55 July 28, 2011 by Abe L
I'm positively surprised by the fact that the nurse got fired. It's a shame it took the death of an individual to lead to that, but it's a positive development in Sweden where you generally can't get fired regardless of how many mistakes you make.
20:22 July 28, 2011 by Mb 65
she can get a job with the weather men they always get it wrong. Nice to see her get the sack, but surely that should of happened the 2nd time.
21:05 July 28, 2011 by Streja
Mb 65, you mean he, it was a male nurse.
21:23 July 28, 2011 by johnny1939
I wonder if the young man had an accent? I have heard that non swedes have a hard time getting a response when they call ambulance or police. I hope that I am wrong.
22:27 July 28, 2011 by Streja
He did not have an accent. He was pleading for help.
22:31 July 28, 2011 by el dorado
Emil Linnell is the young man who died. At least three SOS-related deaths in recent news come to mind as well. If you google Linnell, there's a facebook memorial page.

To my understanding, Dagensnyheter has reported that (the state-kommuner-and-landsting owned) SOS has both a shortage of staff and a shortage of qualified staff. Aftonbladet has written that SOS will be reducing its staff further, for financial reasons. "Företagets ägare kräver högre vinst."
06:50 July 29, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

If you are satisfied to read news like

"In a certain European country's capital, a well known movie star was shot in a well known hotel of the capital main street. Someone called the ambulance, but the service was denied by someone who claimed to be an employee. The movie star died and will be buried in one of the many hundreds of graveyards existing in the country".

If you like this kind of journalism, keep on reading The Local. I agree with you that The Local has not claimed to be a shining star of the journalism world, but I do not agree with you that it is a translation service. If this is the case, TT also stinks.

Hope you enjoy the bad smell
11:24 July 29, 2011 by johnny1939
If you travel to Sweden for a vacation be sure that you have medical evacuation insurance....not that it will do you any good if you have to call an ambulance but for later if you actually reach a hospital.
12:18 July 29, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
A friend of mine had a very sick newborn baby last December. She called the ambulance. The ambulance did not find her house in spite of the fact that where she lives is one of the only two houses there. One is mine, the other is hers. The driver simply drove back and my friend and her husband had to risk their lives driving downhill in the middle of the snow and ice on the road to take their baby to the hospital. This dangerous situation could have been avoided if the driver had acted properly and knock on the door of my friend's house, or blow the siren so it could be heard.
14:03 July 29, 2011 by Mb 65
I find that swedes lack common sense.
14:10 July 29, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@Mb 65

You just discovered the luke warm water!. They do not know what that is because it is the less common of the senses for them, as well as sense of humour. Unfortunately for them, they were not born with those traits and they cannot learn them at the University of buy 2 kilos of common sense and sense of humour at any ICA store.
14:16 July 29, 2011 by Streja
What has a sense of humour got to do with this article?
14:49 July 29, 2011 by zooeden
Well Finally!!!!
17:13 July 29, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

Nothing. The same as Streja has nothing to do in these comments because she/lacks of common sense and of sense of humour. So simple.
17:34 July 29, 2011 by tadchem
Either symptom, difficulty in breathing or unconsciousness, is a probable indicator of a medical condition that could be life-threatening, and any competent nurse should recognize this. The nurse's background should be investigated to see if previous employers or the nurse's traiing are hiding serious flaws that could reappear, and the vetting process that resulted in hiring an incompetent nurse needs to be reviewed.
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