The worlds greatest nation II

August 8, 2007

The greatness of the Swedish Healthcare…

So I read in the newspaper the other day that a 50-something man, from my little middleswedish city, lost his leg because he repeatedly got sent home from the doctors with painkiller when he infact had a bloodclog in his thigh.

A bit of insideinfo: Sweden claims to have the best healthcaresystem in the world. Healthcare for anyone and everyone, with high standard across the range, maybe not the best standard in all areas, but high enough to, on average, have the highest standard in the world.

When I was a kid, healthcare in sweden was for free. You hurt yourself, you went to the doctors and your bill got payed by taxmoney. Of course there where parts of healthcare that costed money, especially denturies and high-cost operations. You had to chip in some, but really not that much in the end (even if 500 Euros might seem like alot, it really isn’t if the operation itself costs 7500 euros, ontop of which goes the salary of the doctors and nurses… so we had it good).

Okay, end “it was better before”-quotes…

The truth of the matter is, Swedish healthcare sucks. Sure, there are good doctors and nurses and helathcarestaff, but they drown amongst the humonguous amount of crappy staff there is out there. And it all nbreaks down to one thing- Uncaring.

Let me evolve that, since I will be mentioning it again and again in these columns.

By “uncaring” I actually mean quite alot of things.
Selfishness is a big part of it. Nobody cares about anything then themselfes. This is a bad thing, as you might understand, though it wouldn’t necessarily be that bad if people actually used their brains whilst being selfish.
I have worked for more then ten years in the restaurant business, and I can tell you that the most successfull businesses are the ones where smart, selfish people work.
Why? Because if you are smart, you realise that a person that is happy with how you treat them will come back, over and over again, spreading the rumour that you are a good (whatever it is you work as) and thus creating more work for you, which in turn means worksecurity and increased income.

Because the Swedish healthcaresystem doesn’t include any form of “you unhappy, okay, go somewhere else” system, the staff just doesn’t care.

The selfishness stretches on other ends as well- “We have such a high workload” I hear, read, and see on the telly quite often as an excuse to why they mal-/mistreat people at healthcare institutions such as hospitals and the likes.

Workload my ass!

15-16 hours in a stressy kitchen, with 50-70 degrees celcius, people asking for food that needed to be at the guests table ten minutes ago and the bongs(technical term for little note with orders on :p) qeueing up so that you KNOW that even though the team is good, there is no chance the people will get their orders within the next ten-twenty minutes anyway.

That’s stress.

I’ve been to the hospital quite often the last two years. And this is the average happenings at my local emergencyward on an evening I have been there.

“As I arrive, there are three nurses sitting talking behind the counter at the entry to the ER. The room is filled with 5-7 patients. I walk up to the counter to report why I’m here (and also to pay..you have to pay before being treated…so much for free healthcare) only to get told that there is a queue and that there are two people up before I can come up to the counter.

Once I finally get to pay, 10 minutes later, I get told I have to sit and wait to get called out.
The actual ER is behind a door, which is closed and soundproof.

20 minutes later, the guy who is having stomachepains and caughing up blood is being let inside, after the elderly guy who hurt his hand. I have to wait for a staggering 35 minutes more, before I get let into the magical halls of “the actual ER”(tm).

Well, so I’m inside the actual ER, and it only took about an hour and five minutes. So I get shown to a room by a nurse. On the way to the room she sais nothing. I walk past three patients in their respective rooms, and a coffeeroom that has three doctors and five nurses in it, drinking coffee and having a break. The guy who coughed blood has passed out on his chair in the room he is sitting in. The nurse thinks he’s drunk.

So at my room, I get told that the doctor will come as soon as he can.

an hour and twenty minutes later, a knock on the door. The doctor enters, takes out a little notepad and asks me whats wrong.
This is a procedure that doctors usually do to get an assessment based upon what the patient actually tells you, and not just based on the notes in my personal file. However, I get to recite the entire thing, because the doctor just haven’t read my file.
After taking some notes (headaches that never pass, inabillity to sleep due to the headaches, painkillers non-effective, mood suffering because of headaches and lack of sleep etc etc) He asks: “Why did you come here? This isn’t really an emergency.”
So I have to tell him that I went to the local healthcare central four days ago, three days ago, two days ago, and that they told me two days ago that if it wasn’t getting any better, I needed to go to the hospital. And the fact that it is now sunday, means the hospitals only admittance is through the ER.

He nods, then leaves the room without a word.

Two hours later, another doctor enters the room, asks me the same questions, with me finally asking: “why do I have to do this again? I just spent four and a half hours at the emergencyward, a handfull of patients have arrived in this area since I first came in here and you ask me to repeat something I allready told a doctor two hours ago.”
The reply? “Staffshift half an hour ago”.

Then he leaves as well.

Onto my fifth hour, I get to meet a third doctor. He does some testings on me, amongst other he hooks me up to a cardiograph, to check the regularity of my heart and pulse. I have a headache, but I can see how this can relate to it, through bloodpreassure and things like that.

The cardiograph has to sit and run for an hour to get a conclusive resault I get told, fair enough…

Six hours I arrive at the ER I see the first sign of commotion in the place. The guy who coughed up blood is in a very bad shape, and I think they rolled him up to Operation. I have no idea, to this day, wether he survived or not.

Anyways.. on my eight hour at the ER, the doctor that hooked me up to the cardiograph comes to check it out. Then he goes away, returns after twenty-something minutes with the head doctor at the ER. They explain to me that they need to do some more testing. Fine… more testing. It’s not like I slept the day before anyway.
So they leave the room.
After half an hour I decide that I’m through with waiting, so I walk out of the room. I find the doctors, together with some nurses, in the coffeeroom.
I get told that they have to have a coffeebreak, they have a very stressful job, I have to realize that.
Nice. I haven’t eaten for eight-nine hours, and they have their coffeebreak..

Shortly after their coffeebreak, they arrive at my room, obviously annoyed at the fact that I demanded some attention. The audacity!
After several bloodtests and another two hours of waiting (they had to send the bloodsamples to another hospital for checkup) they enter the room and tell me they have to do a spinal tap.

For those of you who don’t know what it is- a Spinal tap, or a Lumbal Puncture, is when you put a 20cm long needle into the lower part of the spine, to drain spinal fluids to check wether there is something in the fluids that surround the spine and the brain. (btw, this was no news for me, I have educated myself on alot of things, amongst other things, my latin wordsupply helps alot, and common sense fills in the gaps)

It is painful. Well, rather, it is painful if they miss and hit the nerves surrounding the spines.

So they bring in an AT doctor, doctor in trainee. I don’t mind if people get coached into their proffession, you need to do stuff for the first time sometime. This was the fifth hospitalvisit in a row that a trainee tried something on me, and the last time..trust me.

Five tries at this, and she missed everytime. Then the Head Doctor tried three times, missing horribly everytime.

So they call down a guy from the spine&brain department (did I tell you that we now are on a new day. Mondy has arrived and I have been at the ER for more then 14 hours, without sleep or food).
The guy enters the room, takes a look at the stuff in it, then scolds them for a couple of things:

1) The Patient that gets a Lumbal Punction can on occation faint, hence he/she needs to lie down, NOT sit up like they ordered me to do.
2) Needles and syringes should NOT lie on the bed where the patient is. For the very same reason as above. Also, if you hit the wrong nerves, spasmic reactions can happend. It’s not nice to see syringes and needles launched around the room.
3) They put the needle in at the wrong vertebrae…

He looks at me, goes “it’s okay, this shopuldn’t be a problem”, then he tells me he’s going to sting. I feel a slight tingle and twenty seconds later he asks for a second tube to put fluid in. then it’s done.

After this ordeal, I asked if I could go home.

The head doctor of the ER answered “Only if you sign a paper where you take full responsibility!”.

So I signed the paper and went home to rest for a couple of hours before I got back again…for another ten hour stretch…. still never got any food at the hospital…

Nice…

So what can we read out of this?

During my evening/night at the ER, there was about eight patients there, me included.
One patent got ignored because the staff dissmissed him as a drunkard even though he had stomachepains and coughed up blood.
One patient (me) got to stay at the hospital for some 13-14 hours without any real “doctortime” for more then…2-3 hours.
Thats 10(!) hours of waiting… in an ER that is void of people.

Workload my ass.

SO, Selfishness and uncaring.. Unknowing is another big one.

Being a Doctor is very much like being a carmechanic. I don’t know if you know this.
Basically, you have gone through school to learn what different malfunctions of the body can be caused by.
Then you estimate the probability of what most likely is the fault.
Then you try to mend it.

Much like a carmechanic.

The key here is: You don’t know whats wrong until you cured it.
Sure, it’s easy to say- it’s the flu, or common cold, or 3-day-fever. Some of the more common diseases are easier to spot. Thats because you can rule out other diseases with great ease.

A carmechanic that see a car with a flat tire isn’t going to say “your steering doesn’t work!”.
He would be correct with it, but the fault is the flat tire. Same goes for the doctor. A fever isn’t going to be cancer.

Problem in Sweden is that most doctors seem to make their own opinions without even looking at what they have learnt.
And this then wears off on the nurses.

Example: A person that has lost alot of blood in a short timespan. That person needs to get their bloodpreassure checked up.
I know of five successive hospitalvisits where a close relative of mine got sent directly to a room for “observation” without the staff checking BP. Pregnancy related problems… nice.
Thats Ignorance or Unknowing of how to perform your job.

I could give more examples, but lets jump to the next issue:

Selfishness, Uncaring, Unknowing and Presumptuous.

Remember my little story of my 13-14 hours at the ER?
Th guy who coughed blood.

Disregarded because they thought he was a drunkard.

Maybe he wasa drunkard. Maybe he came there every single night of the week with some drinking-related issues.

Completely unimportant really.
The job of healthcarestaff, wether doctor, nurse or other, is to assess the current situation, and help those who need help with illness and/or injury.

Sure, there is a mental symptom called “munchhausen diseas” and “Munchahusen by proxy”, wherein the person lies about their (or their relatives) healthstatus, going to the length of selfmutilation, or causing bodily harm on their relative, just so that people will feel pity for them.

This is not something that should effect the healthcare of the person in need of medical treatment.
That would be horrendous…

So back to the guy who lost his leg…

The worst part about it is that since a couple of years, there is a law in Sweden called “Lex Maria”, which means that if any staff at a healthcare facility notices something being done wrong, causing mental or bodily pain or suffering to a patient, then they have to report this to the authorities.

Very nice law, with a very nice thought behind it- patient security.

Problem in Sweden is that hospitals use this law to go scott free of blame.

“We have heard that someone feels mistreated at our hospital, we have done a “Lex Maria” and are now updating our routines…” And they get away with it!!!

Seriously ticks me off.

And there you have the worst of all problems today in Sweden.

Nodoby Takes responsibility for their own actions.

Welcome to Sweden… the worlds greatest nation…

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The Worlds Greatest Nation

August 1, 2007

Alcohol

We truly are the greatest nation in the world when it comes to alcohol. Swedes will be the first to point out how many alcoholics there are in France, Germany and Brittain. In Sweden? Not really, we don’t have that problem here, just partying teenagers on friday evenings. Not TRUE ALCOHOLICS(tm) that drink every day! Instead we drink until we sink every friday, Saturday, and sometimes wednesday… tuesdays if there is a party…mondays..maybe a whiskey in the evening. No True Alcoholics here.

Besides, we can’t be alcoholics. Our booze is too expensive. €50 for a bottle of Whiskey, €28 for Vodka. Beer is €2 and up per bottle. It’s not like people shop en masse when they get their paycheck at our designated, monopoly-driven, boozestore. No way José.

The fact that we learn how to lie down without suffocating by your own vomit when you’re drunk has nothing to do with our alcohol consumption. Just being precatious. In case one of them alcoholic germans or frenchies should pop up midwinter on our doorsteps. Never know when that happends.

Coppers

Doing the good deed, Swedish police has been in business since…god knows when. When my parents where young they used to have these nice uniforms with light blue shirts, dark blue pants and hat. They looked nice. Currently the militairy-outfit they wear are under debate.

Personally I would prefer to see only SWAT-teams in the militairy-style uniforms, and have the patroling officers in the old style. Gives more confidence in the police, and it also breeds a better attitude towards them.

But more then anything, I wish they would get the thumb out of their arse and actually do some fricken policework.

Ever seen a policecar, no policeVAN, drive down the street, pass a mugging in action, only to stop infront of the alcoholics on the parkbench (whom we have non of in Sweden btw), tell the alcoholics to behave or get tossed in the slammer, turn to a pregnant woman with a can of coke, suspicious of it containing beer, only to finally radio in for back-up to catch the robber? Waiting for the back-up they would listen to the statement of the old woman who got mugged from inside their van (air-conditioning rules!) whilst the two fifteen-yearolds run past the van trying to get onto the next bus.

I have seen it.

Less militairy uniform, more actual policework!

Go Sweden and our Swedish ways!

btw, Paul Potts might have one of the worlds most tragicomical names, but the voice the man posess is the voice of a god…or atleast some lesser form of deity.

Check him out!

What-ho!?

June 20, 2007

I don’t do blogs. Everybody writes blogs, but not me. I have an aversion towards blogs.

Just the entire word for it- blog. Shortening of the two words web log. No, I don’t do blogs. I write Columns.

What’s a column really?
Cambridge Online Dictionairy notes it as the following:
“a piece of writing in a newspaper or magazine which is always written by the same person and which appears regularly, usually on a particular subject.”

This is true for what I write, even though I don’t do it for a newspaper or a magazine (I wish), but rather for the amusement of myself and those lucky few who find this column and decide that it is interesting enough to read.

Another way to look at columns is this:
An article that represents a persons opinions and views without having to be PC or base themselfes on too much facts. Usually quite tame articles, but with fiery and sulphourus suppositions about any party or fraction in society that isn’t their own faved fraction.

So what exactly, might you ask, is the reoccuring subject- this “un-favoured fraction”- I will write about then?
Well, the easy answer is “fun stuff”, but the more correct answer is:
Quirks of my fellow countrymen, things that set them appart, and which I have had the fortune (thanks to my lovely wife. Well, wife from the 21st of july) to spot and call for what they are.
It will be a lovely little cynical and agggravating column that you will either find sad or hilarious, if you’re not Swedish, and probably unsettling and annoying if you are a swede.

What do I base my ramblings on then? Well, for starters I have a set of new eyes (no you sicko, I didn’t change my old ones in) in the form of my wife, who originate from another country.
Belgium is not far from Sweden. In fact, if you would stretch Sweden out to be twice as long, you would only have to go a third of that extra stretch to get to Belgium.
Yet food is completely different. The language is different (yet compellingly similar, btw. “compellingly isn’t actually a word, I make up things…). The people are different and so are their ways.
To make things even more complicated and refreshing- My wife also has half of her origins in Scotland. And with roughly half of her upbringing being set in Scotland, she also has a quite strong sensation about British ways and how society works there.

This gives for an interesting set of fresh views on how people behave, how things deemed “normal” can be the the strangest occurances in the world, if you look at them logically and how stupid Swedes are to think they are “the best” at everything.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love my country. I also think that we have been the best at most things, and quite recently even. But most of the things that still are promoted as “Swedish models” today, examples of our greatness, actually ceased to exist more then twenty years ago. Or, alternatively, we stoped being best at it that long ago.

I am positive people will find my perspective erroneous. Suit yourself. this is a column, I write articles that represent my own views, without getting too PC. A column. One of those un-tame, but with very fiery and sulphourus suppostitions about the Swedish people and their “typical Swedish” behaviours.

DS