Sweden shows how to save money in health care

Two scandalous news stories about Swedish medical care -- both from taking the cheapest way out -- by not doing routine brain scans. 

Story 1, today: Doctors miss fist-sized brain tumour.

"A Swedish woman has reported four physicians to a national body that assesses medical negligence after they missed a brain tumour the size of a fist."

The docs told this poor woman that it was just her usual headaches, and gave her pain pills.

Story 2. Doctors missed pencil in Swedish boy's brain

Published: 17 Dec 08 12:38 CE

"Two doctors from Karlskrona in southern Sweden have been reprimanded for failing to spot the five centimetre piece chunk of a pencil lodged in the brain of a 14-year-old boy."

Now doctors do make mistakes. But you can't miss a fist-sized brain tumor or a three-inch pencil in somebody's brain if you do routine brain scans. The US has a lot more CAT scan machines and MRIs than Europe because we use them a lot more. In these cases a plain X-ray would have told the story.

The only explanation of these horror stories is that Swedish docs don't do those things routinely.

There is something to be said for defensive medicine. American doctors would send those patients off for brain scans just to make sure they were not going to be sued. 

But the Swedes save a lot more money.
Two scandalous news stories about Swedish medical care -- both from taking the cheapest way out -- by not doing routine brain scans. 

Story 1, today: Doctors miss fist-sized brain tumour.

"A Swedish woman has reported four physicians to a national body that assesses medical negligence after they missed a brain tumour the size of a fist."

The docs told this poor woman that it was just her usual headaches, and gave her pain pills.

Story 2. Doctors missed pencil in Swedish boy's brain

Published: 17 Dec 08 12:38 CE

"Two doctors from Karlskrona in southern Sweden have been reprimanded for failing to spot the five centimetre piece chunk of a pencil lodged in the brain of a 14-year-old boy."

Now doctors do make mistakes. But you can't miss a fist-sized brain tumor or a three-inch pencil in somebody's brain if you do routine brain scans. The US has a lot more CAT scan machines and MRIs than Europe because we use them a lot more. In these cases a plain X-ray would have told the story.

The only explanation of these horror stories is that Swedish docs don't do those things routinely.

There is something to be said for defensive medicine. American doctors would send those patients off for brain scans just to make sure they were not going to be sued. 

But the Swedes save a lot more money.