Swedish nurse fights ‘absurd’ parking fine

A Swedish nurse is fighting a parking ticket he got while stuck in the emergency ward because heavy snow saw the number of accidents go up, a fact that left the ticketing company unimpressed.

Swedish nurse fights 'absurd' parking fine

“When I saw the parking ticket I just sighed,” Martin von Wirén told The Local.

“I read that I could appeal and I was sure I had a reasonable cause for cancellation of my ticket.”

Von Wirén, an assistant nurse at the university hospital in Linköping, couldn’t leave to renew his parking during an especially busy night in March.

The nurse knew that the spot where he parked his car was a “no parking zone” between 10pm and 11pm, but when he arrived for his shift he was certain he would be able to find a new spot before that. An unusually steady stream of patients, however, prevented this from happening.

When von Wirén finally went outside to move his vehicle, the ticket warden had gotten there before him. Due to the unusual workload at the hospital that night, however, von Wirén felt sure he could easily lodge an appeal and dispute the fine.

This proved easier said than done. The parking ticket company said that a note from the hospital was not enough to cancel the ticket.

Von Wirén then contacted the company twice, but has yet to receive an explanation.

“My friends and I thought all along that ‘they can’t possibly make me pay’ but apparently we were all wrong.”

Von Wiren always planned to pay the ticket with his own money, even though his employer offered to pay it for him. The nurse, however, didn’t want to waste taxpayer money.

The nurse said he had little hope of resolving the situation and wanted to stress how absurd he found the parking ticket company’s behaviour.

“I’ve gotten three parking tickets in my life, including this one, but the first two were definitely my fault,” he told The Local.

“This is without a doubt the worst parking ticket I’ve received or heard of to date.”

Sanna Håkansson

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Pregnant woman died in overcrowded hospital

A Swedish hospital pressured by a lack of beds and staff coupled with a winter increase in patients has reported itself to the healthcare watchdog after a pregnant woman died in its emergency room.

Pregnant woman died in overcrowded hospital
File photo of a pregnant woman not connected to the story. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

The woman complained of headache and vomiting when she visited Mölndal Hospital in western Sweden in December, reports broadcaster SVT. It was decided to let her undergo a brain scan, but because of a lack of beds in the neurology ward she had to stay in the emergency room overnight.

During the night her condition deteriorated. She was taken to the neurology ward for emergency surgery, but her life could not be saved. The hospital filed a so-called 'Lex Maria' report to the healthcare watchdog, the Health and Social Care Inspectorate, suggesting overcrowding may have been to blame.

“Inadequate level of care, possible shortcomings in the transmission of information and delayed transport could be a contributory factor to the tragic course of events,” SVT, which does not state how far ahead the woman was in her pregnancy, quoted it as saying.

The hospital does not wish to comment during the ongoing investigation, but several staff members have voiced concern over a lack of beds in non-emergency departments at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, of which Mölndal Hospital is part.

“Patients who really need care in the other wards end up staying in the emergency room. The staff then have to try to care for them there, while caring for a continuous stream of new patients,” Karin Frank, the healthcare union representative at Mölndal Hospital, told SVT.

The Local has previously reported on other incidents of overcrowding at Swedish hospitals. In December, three families from Uppland county had to travel to Finland to give birth because there was no room for them and their specific needs in the neonatal unit of Uppsala University Hospital.

Last year a baby died when a heavily pregnant woman was turned away from an overcrowded hospital in the south of the country, while in a high-profile case in 2014, a Swedish man had to help his fiancée give birth to their baby in the back of a taxi because the family was turned away by a midwife, who said there wasn't a hospital bed available for them in all of Stockholm.