Severely sick patient sent alone in taxi

An 84-year-old cancer patient woman, who couldn't speak or move by herself was sent alone in a taxi from a geriatric clinic to a palliative care ward nearby. A day later the woman was dead, and now the case is being taken up by the Health and Social Care Inspectorate.

The patient was in such poor condition that the taxi driver at first refused to take the woman, but eventually he did because the nurses refused to take her back into the hospital, the woman's granddaughter Johanna Routsaari-Elfström told newspaper Dagens Nyheter. She also said that the hospital, Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, a Stockholm suburb, never informed the family that the woman was going to be moved and they only found out after the palliative care ward called them saying that the woman was there.

Soon after arriving at the palliative care ward, the woman became unconscious and around 24 hours later she died.

"Karolinska considered her well enough to be transported, which is completely unfathomable given the advanced state of her illness and condition. We never thought it would be possible for the elderly and critically ill to be treated like this," Routsaari-Elfström said.

Routsaari-Elfström said that the family has lodged two further complaints about the hospital's treatment of her grandmother. Hospital staff gave the woman pills orally, instead of intravenously. This, because she couldn't swallow, led to her developing burns in her mouth and throat. Also, near the end, the woman was in great pain but was only given paracetamol.

Dagens Nyheter reports that the hospital said they could not comment on the case because no one responsible had seen the reported complaint yet.