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Swede forced to fake stroke to get x-ray

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15:17 CEST+02:00
A Swedish man has reported his local hospital after being forced to fake stroke symptoms to finally get an x-ray, following years of debilitating headaches and high blood pressure.

“I have filed a report so that this won't happen to others,” Mats Johannesson told The Local.

Johannesson, who is in his forties and was working as a truck driver, fell ill some five years ago. After seeking medical help from his local clinic in Mellerud he was referred to the nearest hospital, the Norra Älvsborgs lasarett, but was sent home again with some painkillers.

“I asked for an x-ray but they didn't think there was enough reason to carry one out,” Johannsesson said.

This continued on and off for the next five years. By last summer, Johannesson had gone to hospital by ambulance 47 times. Every time he was sent back by taxi – and without the x-ray he asked for.

“I have lived with this for so long now,” Johannesson said.

On the May 20th this year, Johannesson collapsed again but was sent home once more without an x-ray. When it happened again on July 19th Johannesson was determined not to be brushed off.

“I thought to myself ‘ I am going to get a scan this time',” Johannesson told The Local.

When the doctor came to check him over, Johannesson therefore pretended to have had a stroke, making himself go limp on the left side of his body . When the attending physician asked him to touch his nose with his fingertips, he missed on purpose.

“And then they got worried and I was taken for an emergency x-ray straight away,” Johannesson said.

When they had performed the scan the doctor told him that there was no haemorrhage but that they had detected a tumour in his brain. He is now getting anti-retroviral drugs and is set to be admitted to hospital in two weeks.

Johannesson has now reported the hospital to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). The hospital is also conducting an internal investigation and mulling reporting itself in accordance with Lex Maria regulations on reporting instances of patient harm in the Swedish healthcare system.

“I am frankly furious with what has happened. I could have been spared all these years' suffering. When I was put on the drugs the symptoms disappeared over night,” Johannesson told The Local.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

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