Sweden's response to the global coronavirus pandemic has clearly differed from the rest of Europe and neighboring countries. Unlike the closest benchmark Nordic countries, Sweden has not introduced large-scale assembly restrictions and the economy has been allowed to operate relatively normally.

The line taken by Sweden in the acute treatment of a coronary pandemic has been widely criticized. Ilta-Sanomat spoke yesterday on Wednesday about how Annika Linde, who worked as a state epidemiologist in Sweden from 2005 to 2013, downloaded direct words about the situation in an interview with Dagens Nyheter.

- I think it is starting to seem that the Swedish model may not have been the wisest in all respects, he says.

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According to him, more restrictive measures than we have now seen would have been necessary from the very beginning of the crisis. Those arriving in Sweden should have been subjected to stricter quarantine and society closed for at least a month in order to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Now Dagens Nyheter has said that Yngve Gustafson, a professor of geriatrics at the University of Umeå, has also joined the critics of the Swedish model. According to him, the situation in nursing homes is bad.

In Sweden, more than half of all deaths in people over the age of 70 from covid-19 caused by the new coronavirus have occurred in nursing homes for the elderly. According to Gustafson, not everything necessary has been done, as he estimates that not all elderly people with coronary heart disease have received treatment for covid-19 disease, but have been transferred directly to convalescent care.

Patient in a coronavirus test in Stockholm.

Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Journal

According to Gustafson, there are downright criminal traits in the approach, as many nursing home residents could still have several years to live if they only received the care they needed.

- The fact that someone lives in a nursing home is not a diagnosis and cannot be a medical basis for deciding whether to allow a person to live or die. It is discriminatory and illegal not to make a medical assessment of what is best for an individual patient, Gustafson says.

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According to Gustafson, during the corona epidemic, the proportion of elderly people who have received treatment for respiratory symptoms has been lower than usual. This is despite the fact that it is the elderly who are at risk of coronavirus disease and there has already been talk of overcapacity in healthcare in recent days.

The professor, who has had a long career in geriatrics, emphasizes that even simple improvements such as nutrient instillation, supplemental oxygen administration and antibiotic treatment for respiratory infections would improve the situation in nursing homes. In many places, however, there is a lack of capacity for these activities at night.

- The fact that instead of these treatments, the elderly are routinely given midazolam and morphine, which are difficult to breathe, is the administration of active death aid, to say the least, Gustafson rumbles to DN.

Dagens Nyheter, a physician and researcher at Carolina Hospital, tells us that the “palliative [pain-relieving] cocktails” described by Gustafson, which have used sedatives and analgesics, have been used extensively in covid patients in both hospitals and nursing homes.

- This is a sensitive issue. We are not talking about it among colleagues, but now I am beginning to notice that people are increasingly practicing euthanasia under the guise of palliative care.

The Karolinshire Hospital has been the subject of criticism this week due to, among other things, allegations related to the allocation of intensive care units.

Photo: TT News Agency / Reuters

In addition to haloperidol, the medicines mentioned by Gustafson, midazolam and morphine, are among those recommended by the Swedish health authorities for use in the convalescent phase.

- Many covid-19 patients have been treated in this way. This is usually done with patients with incurable cancer and short life expectancy. When these drugs are used on patients who have difficulty breathing, it inevitably speeds up their death. Because visits to treatment facilities have been banned, their relatives know nothing about it. The ethical dimensions are not discussed, but I think this is illegal, and I believe some patients could have survived if they had been given supplemental oxygen instead of medication, according to a doctor at the Carolina Hospital, who speaks of the anonymity guard.

Among Swedish media, SVT, among others, reported earlier this week that many covid patients in the Stockholm area have been excluded from intensive care, even if they were in need of it, and there have been vacancies in intensive care in hospitals. For example, kidney patients have been reported to be admitted to intensive care instead of coronavirus patients. One example of such prioritization is the Karolinska Hospital, but according to SVT, similar clues have come from elsewhere.

- We have repeatedly found that patients who are estimated to need mechanical breathing aid for a long time are denied access to treatment on the pretext that a better-predicted young patient needs a place when intensive care units in the area are running out, SVT says of a tip.

The IVO (Inspektionen för vård och omsorg), which is responsible for the Finnish Valvira (Social and Health Care Licensing and Supervision Agency) in Sweden, is aware of allegations that coronary patients are unduly excluded from access to intensive care. An investigation into the case will be launched, including at the Carolina Hospital.

The hospital has been told by SVT that the investigation is welcome, although “Karolinska Hospital provides treatment on medical grounds, regardless of the patient group”.

People have been tested at Sophiahemmet Hospital in Stockholm during a corona pandemic.

Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Journal