A 9-year-old child experiencing appendicitis was forced to wait over 20 hours in a Swedish emergency room. During the extensive wait, his appendix burst.
Nine-year-old William Strömgren came down with appendicitis. His parents brought him into the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm after he had been experiencing stomach pains for a few days.
According to The Local, William was "immediately" diagnosed with appendicitis by the facility's emergency room staff. Yet despite the urgency of such a diagnosis, the boy and his family were reportedly sent to wait, with his surgery pushed back numerous times.
"The only treatment he received was morphine and paracetamol tablets so he didn't die from the pain," Jesper Strömgren, William's father, told the Dagens Nyheter.
The Local report noted that William's parents were told by the hospital's chief surgeon that surgery would only be possible if carried out "the old-fashioned way".
The "old-fashioned way" is called an open appendectomy, but a more modern approach is through a procedure called a laparoscopic appendectomy, which uses cameras, results in smaller incisions and is said to have a shorter recovery time.
"There was only one overnight operating room to handle all of Stockholm's children," William's father told local media. "I'm convinced that if we hadn't demanded to speak with the chief surgeon we would have had to wait yet another night."
Dagens Nyheter reported a hospital employee said:
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.
William is currently recovering, but had an extended hospital stay, missed two weeks of school and cannot play ice hockey until sometime after Christmas.
The U.S. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) indicates an appendix infection is serious and that an inflamed appendix is likely to burst, which creates a dangerous health situation. The agency states on its website, "Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate care."