A nine-year-old boy with appendicitis was made to wait more than 20 hours for surgery at the emergency ward of a Stockholm-area children's hospital before his appendix finally burst.
"The only treatment he received was morphine and paracetamol tablets so he didn't die from the pain," Jesper, the father of nine-year-old William Strömgren, told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
William arrived at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm last Thursday after suffering stomach pains for days. He was immediately diagnosed with appendicitis, but then nothing happened.
After having his operation repeatedly pushed back by doctors, William's desperate parents were told by the chief surgeon that an operation would only be possible if it was carried out "the old-fashioned way", rather than using a procedure which resulted in less scarring.
"There was only one overnight operating room to handle all of Stockholm's children," William's father told DN.
"I'm convinced that if we hadn't demanded to speak with the chief surgeon we would have had to wait yet another night."
But by the time doctors operated on the nine-year-old, his appendix had already burst, resulting in an extended hospital stay, two weeks of missed school, and no ice hockey for young William until after Christmas.
"If they had operated sooner, I'd be home now," the nine-year-old told the paper.
Employees at the hospital acknowledged that patient safety is in jeopardy.
"Tough budget cuts, staff shortages, and recruitment difficulties have unfortunately put more pressure on surgeries and meant that children and parents have had to wait longer as a result," a hospital employee told DN.