This part of the story "A Country's Race to Diagnose" is going to sound insane.
You are free not to believe me, but you are also welcome to come to Sweden and try it out for yourself. I will keep it short and dedicate more posts to this tragicomical experience.
I started to seek help right after the Italian doctor scared the hell out of me, about two weeks before the first Apple Watch ECG result.
I asked for a Holter ECG as suggested by the Italian doctor, and they booked me in 4 weeks later. I told them I was scared of having a stroke, and they answered that there was nothing they could do:
They only have one Holter machine at the clinic, and there is a queue for that. It's normal: in Sweden, we have a queue for everything.
They told me to remain calm and try to live my life the best I could.
Then, one crisis got worse, and they sent help. By the time the ambulance arrived, the crisis was over, and the ECG was regular again.
They told me I was okay and wholly ignored the ECG records from my watch. Luckily, they decided to bring me in for routine bloodwork as they suspected a possible heart attack.
That day I got to talk with an Irish doctor, and she shared some harsh sentiments regarding the Swedish system, gave me a few tips on how to survive a heart attack and get a Swedish ambulance in time.
That doctor told me that they could not use my watch’s ECG as it didn’t come “from the system” and that only information was “from the system” can be used by Swedish doctors.
Scary, if you ask me.
Meanwhile, the Swedish clinic furtherly delayed my Holter's booking. So I changed it but to no avail. I gave up on them and started to work my way with the Italian private care and the Danish insurance system.
I eventually did the 24 hours Holter ECG in Sweden. At the time of writing, five weeks have passed since the test, and I still haven't heard from my clinic. But they say that if they don't call you it is because everything is fine. Too bad I know already that it is not the case for me 😬.
Two weeks ago, the situation took a turn when I got another severe crisis on my way back from work. That day, my heart was racing above 200bpm, and I felt a bit dizzy. By then, I knew I had AFib thanks to the Danish and Italian cardiologists, but I decided to stop by the clinic anyway and see if they could finally track it down with an ECG in Sweden. So that I have it "in the system."
Just this particular day is yet another horror story of medical carelessness that I will sooner or later share in colorful details. But here is the gist. They got me to the emergency room again, and I got my AFib on paper on a Swedish ECG. The ER doctor referred my case to my clinic as an "urgent case," then they sent me home with a beta-blockers prescription without being checked by any cardiologist. Scary again.
Do I need to say that two weeks had passed, and I heard nothing from my clinic? Me, an "urgent case from the ER"… I'm such an arrogant and presumptuous guy, as I expect my clinic to call me in and plan to handle my condition!
What the Actual?!?
(To be continued…)