Swedish man dies after swallowing toothpick

A man in southern Sweden died after doctors failed to notice a toothpick stuck in his throat.

The man, who was in his sixties, had been eating pork served with toothpicks when he inadvertently swallowed one. He did not notice at the time that it had got stuck in his oesophagus.

By the next day he had problems swallowing and was taken to the emergency ward in Karlskrona, southern Sweden. Doctors were unable to detect any problem and sent the man home.

Ten days later, however, the man was back in hospital with a hole in his windpipe and a serious infection that demanded an emergency operation. While doctors performed surgery, the patient suffered haemorrhages and died the next day in Malmö’s vascular clinic.

The incident, which occurred in December, has been registered with Sweden’s National Health Board (Socialstyrelsen) in a Lex Maria report, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health-care system.

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Fatal workplace mishaps claim two lives

Two workers died on the job in Sweden on Wednesday in two separate accidents involving cranes, less than a week after two workers died after drowning in coal tar at a coke plant.

Fatal workplace mishaps claim two lives

In one accident, a 63-year-old crane operator died after a ten-metre long post came loose and hit him in the head. The accident took place near the Rörvik dock on the island of Orust off Sweden’s west coast.

Workers were operating a crane on a barge located several metres from shore in an effort to secure the posts into the seabed. For some unknown reason, one of the posts fell from the crane, striking the 63-year-old. He was rushed to Norra Älvsborgs hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The second accident took place in central Malmö. Two workers were up in a bucket lift stringing up Christmas lights on lamp posts when their truck was struck by another truck.

One worker, a 64-year-old man, fell several metres to the ground, while his colleague managed to remain dangling in the bucket. Witnesses reported seeing the man lying bloodied on the ground as ambulance workers tried to revive him.

He was taken to hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.

The truck that struck the crane was driven by a student driver in upper secondary school who was accompanied by an instructor, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported.

While no one is currently suspected of committing any crime in connection with the accident in Malmö, two police reports were filed, one for a workplace accident and the other for a traffic violation.

The two deaths come just days after two workers died at a coke plant in northern Sweden after drowning in coal tar that spilled out of a tank during routine maintenance. The incident, which took place at a facility operated by steel-maker SSAB, sparked anger from unions about lax workplace safety.

“It is completely unacceptable that there are such shortcomings in the working environment that people die on the job,” IF Metall spokesman Anders Ferbe told the TT news agency at the time.

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