• Sweden's news in English

Swede with broken neck sent home on painkillers

The Local/rm · 29 Feb 2012, 14:44

Published: 29 Feb 2012 14:44 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

When the ambulance arrived the man was asked to walk to the vehicle himself and travelled to the clinic without a neck brace, the man wrote in his report according to local paper Länstidningen.

The doctors at the clinic twisted and turned the man's head in all directions during the examination, finally concluding that he must be suffering from a severe muscle sprain in the neck.

However, as his neck pain wouldn't go away and he became dizzy when standing up, the man went back to the doctor's surgery, where his arm and shoulder were x-rayed. He was then sent home with some painkillers, reports the paper.

Three weeks went by in the same fashion before the man gave up and went for a new consult at a different clinic. While there, his neck was finally x-rayed and after the images had been examined, the man was sent to nearby larger town Östersund.

At the Östersund clinic, he was told that the injuries were too complex to be treated there and the man was told to hold completely still, as the vertebral column was unstable.

According to the doctors at the Umeå hospital where the man was sent next, his neck was in fact broken.

The man had been very lucky, however, as his neck only remained in position when he was lying down.

Story continues below…

Every time he moved or sat up his vertebral column moved three centimetres, which is enough to risk causing paralysis, according to the paper.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:21 February 29, 2012 by gabeltoon
I am becoming increasingly worried about the healthcare system in SWEDEN.As i'm hoping to travel to SWEDEN i'm worried if anything were to happen to me would i be given treatment and assistance as good as i have had in SCOTLAND. This story is worrying i hope the guy is ok.
16:44 February 29, 2012 by strixy
Not much better in Norway. My hubby broke a small bone in his hand and it has been put together so great his knuckles are in completely different places now!
17:20 February 29, 2012 by Tennin
Sadly, I'm not shocked anymore about the docs and hospitals here.
17:22 February 29, 2012 by cogito
@gaveltoon (#1)

You should be woried--very worried--about the healthcare system in Sweden.

Do a search to see the numerous stories of screw-ups.
17:58 February 29, 2012 by philster61
Is he gonna sue them?
19:51 February 29, 2012 by zooeden
No fripping body sues here, the most you get your case on tv or in the local and then they will have a time to reflect on the matter forever and the cases pale up while they are still thinking what to do...

Roll them heads and start hiring professionals!!!!
20:19 February 29, 2012 by dizzymoe33
I had to call for an ambulance last Thursday morning for my mom. There were two ambulances within 10 minutes of my phone call at my mom's house. The four EMT personnel treated her quickly and with respect and concern. They got her to the Emergency room at the Hospital very quickly and worked on her and treated her respectively. The nurses and doctors worked on her quickly with care and concern. I don't know why this is so difficult in Sweden. I guess they just don't really care about their patients?!!
20:21 February 29, 2012 by jonW
Amazing I had exactly the same,fell down the stairs in my london house in 1984 knocked myself out,was taken to hospital with a fractured skull,spent two days in hospital and was sent home signed off for three weeks.

Had a really stiff neck with dizziness, went back to the hospital and was prescribed powerful pain killers.

My company paid for private physio and she was brilliant but insisted that I have some further xrays before she commenced any treatment and yep I had broken the top two bones in my neck,so 6 months off work and five years of physio/chiropractic treatment followed.But at the end of the day this chap is a lucky guy like I was........It can happen!
20:34 February 29, 2012 by krrodman
Ask almost anyone in Sweden about healthcare in the USA and the typical answer would be something along the lines of, "there is too much wasteful spending in the USA for too little return." By and large, the criticism would be correct.

Ask almost anyone in the USA about healthcare in Sweden and the typical answer would be something along the lines of "the waits are too long for routine procedures and the government looks for ways to save money rather than save lives." By and large, the criticism would be correct.

This case is a perfect example of the problem with socialized medicine, Swedish style. A person falls down a flight of stairs and gets admitted to an emergency department(ED). The doctor on duty has a simple choice. Choice A: he can get a neck x-ray on every patient that arrives in his ED after a fall or Choice B: he can examine the patient and try an determine if the neck injury merits an x-ray.

A doctor in the USA opts for choice A. Everyone gets a neck x-ray. Very expensive. Very wasteful. Completely unnecessary most of the time.

A doctor in Sweden opts for choice B. Saves money for sure. And, he will be correct most of the time; but not all of the time because it is impossible to determine the full extent of a neck injury without an x-ray.

There you have it. The problem here is not a bad doctor, but a healthcare system in Sweden that makes decisions based on financial cost.
22:05 February 29, 2012 by stevo1
Actually, I've had only good experiences here in Sweden. A family member needed a knee replacement urgently and had a procedure within two weeks, and when my son was sick with swedish flu, the hospital ED was very attentive, worked very quickly and had him on the mend in a few hours.

Really, fall down the stairs, put your head thru a door, and you go to your local clinic? what a fool!

the local clinic is for when you have a flu or cold, or a sprain, serious injury merits an actual hospital visit!
22:25 February 29, 2012 by Trenatos
You know, stevo1 is correct.

What they refer to as "local clinic" is usually not equipped to handle any severe cases. They have no emergency room, nor staff trained for that purpose.

Granted, they should have called for an ambulance to transport the man to a proper hospital where they could examine the damage thoroughly, not send him home with painkillers.
22:29 February 29, 2012 by slash_gordon
@ gabeltoon

Be VERY VERY CONCERNED! I would even consider not moving/living in Sweden unless you can get private healthcare through your employer (although private is not particularly that great either, they just listen to you more). I myself am in the process of moving out of Sweden. Healthcare is not the only reason, but definitely plays a major role. Just read krrodman's post. I can speak through experience to say he's spot on!
23:43 February 29, 2012 by Jazz_breeze
someone mentioned to me is that the only thing which gets attention to any doctor even in emergency is Blood. Even if you are bleading but is consious...its not emergency here. Can we do something for the improvement of healthcare system. I think, Its not that bed but yes needs some kind of attention.
06:32 March 1, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Former UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock warned people before the 1983 General Election that if 'Margaret Thatcher wins' - "I warn you not to fall ill"

The same advice seems to apply if you are living in Sweden; to be fair, I once needed some stitches for a cut, and the Swede hospital did that alright - but against that, I had my hearing damaged by incompetent medical procedure at CityAkuten.

This poor guy: it seemed to take a long time for someone to decide his neck was broken
08:42 March 1, 2012 by karex

The problem is that when you show up at the emergency room here, if you're not gushing blood all over their floors through a severed artery, they will first ask you if you have booked an appointment. Yes, that's right, you need an appointment for the emergency room. Then they will tell you that you have to go to your local clinic and get an appointment and come back another day. Once you have an appointment they can make you wait up to 6 hours (beyond the time stated in your appointment) before anyone sees you, and in my case, another hour in the examination room waiting for the doctor to show up. Were it not for the fact that I self medicated, I would have been dead - I was suffering a major vascular incident.

A Swedish friend of mine left Sweden for good never to return. he said, and I quote "That accursed country killed my wife". She was having a heart attack and he drove her straight to the emergency room. They made her wait 4 hours and she died in his arms in the waiting room. No one cared.
08:53 March 1, 2012 by nolikegohome
The key word is COMPASSION there is very little or no compassion is the system. The knowledge is at par with the rest of the devloped world no doubt about it they have the knowledge they have the technology but they lack compassion.

Mistakes and wrong diagnosis can and do happen in all clinics and hospitals there is nothing strage about that. We often read the negative parts of the story. Seldom do they write about the good things the medical staff do.We need to rethink our approach on how to deal with humans as humans and not just personla numbers. Some Buddhist teachings could help.
09:18 March 1, 2012 by SaxSymbol73
The other problem here is the ridiculous education system for doctors. Because Swedish universities allow student to continue taking exam after exam until they pass a course, students who would wash out in the US system are allowed to remain and in many cases, eventually graduate and treat patients. The low skill level in general care is truly breathtaking and embarrassing. I had surgery last year and was very pleased, but the care at any vårdcentralen is a joke at best.
10:17 March 1, 2012 by Ter76
This is getting scary!!! My inlaws have always praised the Swedish health system, and put down the Irish system... Sorry I have issues with the Irish health system at times too but we don't send people home with broken bones, not bother to turn up in emergencies, I am still traumatized after reading about the poor women who lost her baby as the doctor said she did not need a csection.,. Makes ya really wonder how safe we actually are here and our children!
12:46 March 1, 2012 by Not Dumb
Be scared, be very scared.

I have an environmental condition that my vårdcentral says it cannot diagnose properly or treat, and refers me to the local Allergy Clinic for treatment. The Allergy Clinic then repeatedly refuses the vårdcentral's referrals, referring me back to it, my health having now deteriorated markedly and continuing to do so.

When I complained to Socialstyrelsen, citing a blatant and life-threatening denial of care, they accepted the complaint, and then decided there was no problem with the Allergy Clinic's actions. Surreal!
11:35 March 2, 2012 by cogito
"A Swedish friend of mine left Sweden for good never to return. he said, and I quote "That accursed country killed my wife" (#15)


I have met many Swedes in France, Spain and the U.S. who said they left Sweden for their health.

I waited nine hours at Emergency here. It was only a broken limb, subsequent to being hit by a car. But hey did not check me for possible head injuries, which should have been routine anywhere with proper procedures.

An elderly woman who had suffered a stroke, had been waiting only six hours.
17:31 March 2, 2012 by Dolores Claesson
When my daughter was three years old she fell off a chair and broke her arm. I took her to the ER and they said to come back the next day around noon cause they would be too busy before then. We did and the arm was broken and we spent hours waiting to ge the cast. Then my daughter went to visit her grand parents in Sweden and became ill. When she returned to America we found out that she had Borrelia, Babesia duncani, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Bartonella, Brucella, HSV 1, HHV 6, Parvo virus B-19, EBV, CMV, to name a few and now she needs IVIG for her low immune system. No one in Sweden would help her and we have asked for help in many places. I know many families in Sweden who are left to die with all these tick borne pathogens. My father in law became very ill in the Spring and we came in the summer and he went to the local clinic and was told that his bulls eye rash was not from the tick he pulled out of his chest and that his dizziness and high fever were also not from the tick and was given a small amount of antibiotics and has segued into alzheimers. Socialized medicine does not care ! Scandinavia is over run with Borrelia, Tularemia etc...This is a world wide epidemic and we need to address it now. Every country is ignoring this huge problem and the American Association called the Infectious Disease Society of America is responsible ! They have the deaths of many on their heads.
Today's headlines
Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Swedish terror suspect ‘planned airport attack’
Swedish terror suspect Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Swedish national Osama Krayem, linked to the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13 and in Brussels on March 22, is now suspected of having plotted to attack also the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available