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Nurse acquitted of ambulance call death

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Nurse acquitted of ambulance call death
13:31 CET+01:00
A Stockholm court on Wednesday acquitted the nurse on trial for failing to dispatch an ambulance in answer to an emergency call, causing the death of a 23-year-old man.

"This is completely wrong, it is beyond all criticism. We will appeal this verdict," the young man's mother Eva Vassilakis told daily Aftonbladet.

Although the court felt there was no doubt that the nurse should have sent an ambulance, they didn't think that it has been proven beyonf reasonable doubt that the man wouldn't have died even if an ambulance had been dispatched - this being a prerequisite to convict the nurse who faced charges of manslaughter.

The case dates back to the early hours of January 30th 2011 when the Stockholm man called SOS Alarm, a company operating emergency response services in several counties in Sweden, on several occasions, asking for an ambulance.

23-year-old Emil Linnell had been experiencing difficulty breathing and had lost consciousness several times while he spoke with the nurse on the phone.

The 52-year-old nurse, who no longer works for SOS Alarm, faced charges of aggravated manslaughter. According to Aftonbladet, he had previously been criticized for not listening enough to callers.

Throughout the trial, however, the nurse reamined adamant he was "completely innocent".

The nurse's lawyer, Björn Hurtig, said during the trial that he doesn't think that a crime has been committed.

"Of course we all realize that mistakes have been made. But I believe that you must be able to make mistakes, even if you are working at SOS Alarm," he said.

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, as well as pain and extreme anxiety.

The case generated a great deal of interest in Sweden and prompted scrutiny of the service provided by SOS Alarm.

The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) published a report earlier in the month sternly criticising the firm for severe flaws in their judgements of ambulance call-outs.

The agency has investigated around 50 cases across the country in the course of its investigations and has demanded that SOS Alarm reply by January 15th with a plan of action to address the deficiencies.

According to Aftonbladet, Emil Linnell's family have no plans of giving up the fight any time soon.

"They don't know which family they are messing with. We will not give in," Eva Vassilakis told the paper.

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