In an official complaint letter to the healthcare watchdog the Health and Social Care Inspectorate (Inspektionen för vård och omsorg – IVO), the nine-year-old's mother detailed how she and her husband had tried to find out what made their son cough constantly. After doctors at an allergy clinic failed to find anything wrong with the boy, the family insisted that he be sent for further tests.
"We didn't think it was enough, because the cough persisted and stole a lot of sleep primarily from our son, but also from us, and we felt we soon wouldn't be able to take it anymore," the mother wrote in her complaint about the consultation that took place in 2012.
Her son had suffered from the cough since 2007, she explained, and had had more than twenty attacks during an overnight stay in hospital earlier the same yearwhen he was admitted for observation.
The doctor, however, did not agree that further tests were necessary, the mother claimed in her letter to IVO, the state agency that ensures medical practitioners in Sweden provide good quality healthcare. Instead, the doctor said the cough could be psychosomatic.
"There is nothing physically wrong with this boy," he told the mother. "Maybe you should consider going to a psychologist."
Less than a month later, an MRI scan revealed that the boy had a 5-cm brain tumour, which was removed just a few days after its discovery.
"If we had listened to (the doctor) our son would be dead now," the mother wrote.
Having demanded copies of her son's medical journals, the mother said that one visit to the emergency room had not even been recorded. She also said that the allergy doctor in question had incorrectly noted down that the parents had never brought their son to the emergency room.
She underscored that the at times "scant" annotations painted an incomplete picture of her son's five-year battle with the cough and the family's efforts to help him.
"What isn't apparent is the innumerable times that we have phoned (medical hotline) 1177 and asked for advice, the countless times we've driven him in the middle of the night, (or) when we have sat with our son next to an open window in the dead of winter," she wrote.