The ambulance was on the E4 motorway near Linköping when drivers were notified of a priority-1 call, the most urgent classification of emergency call for patients with “life-threatening symptoms”.
At the time, they were headed back to the station as their shift had just ended.
But instead of responding directly to the call, the drivers entered the address from which the call was made into their GPS and determined they could still manage to swing by the station on their way, the local Norrköpings Tidiningar (NT) reported.
“That’s against guidelines. You don’t delay a priority-1 call,” Christer Andersson, a doctor with the Linköping University Hospital told the paper.
Andersson explained that the drivers in the ambulance had called ahead to their colleagues to ensure that the change in drivers would happen quickly.
Despite their best efforts, however, the waiting patient died after suffering from cardiac arrest.
Following the fatal incident, which took place on June 5th, 2012, the ambulance drivers estimated that changing drivers delayed their arrival by 50 to 90 seconds.
Andersson has since reported the matter to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in accordance with Sweden’s Lex-Maria laws, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.
He explained that an autopsy to determine the patient’s exact cause of death has yet to be completed.