Sunday, March 7, 2021
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City-run elderly care home in Ersboda. -Umeå Kommun

Elderly Dying Unnecessarily Due To Illegal Discrimination During Pandemic, Umeå Doctors Argue

• Elderly are not getting IVs and oxygen, geriatrician says • Armed Forces brings in 10 military medics to strengthen Umeå coronavirus response • New video shows bird’s eye view of Holmsund car fires • Umeå Student Union says university’s pandemic actions are “too restrictive” • Norrlandsoperan sends dancers out for fresh-air performances • City starts spring street sweeping. When will your neighborhood be cleaned?
  • Elderly are not getting IVs and oxygen, geriatrician says
  • Armed Forces bring in 10 military medics to strengthen Umeå coronavirus response
  • New video shows bird’s eye view of Holmsund car fires
  • Umeå Student Union says university’s pandemic actions are “too restrictive”
  • Norrlandsoperan sends dancers out for fresh-air performances
  • City starts spring street sweeping. When will your neighborhood be cleaned?

ÅLIDHEM – A seasoned Umeå University geriatrician, Yngve Gustafson, has called government guidelines about how to treat elderly patients during the coronavirus crisis “illegal discrimination”, leading them to “die unnecessarily”, despite having several years to live. His analysis was broadcast this morning on SVT. This comes just under two weeks after the nation’s most influential epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, said that Sweden’s high death rate relative to other Nordic countries was due to infections spread in nursing homes.

Geriatrician Yngve Gustafson. -Umeå Universitet

Gustafson, who has been practicing for some 35 years, pointed to guidelines enacted earlier this month which said that doctors working with the elderly should avoid house visits and prioritize making medical assessments over the telephone. He said that older patients are now not getting required intravenous fluids or oxygen support. “You don’t get an IV if you live in a nursing home, and you don’t send the elderly to hospitals,” he remarked. “In practice, old people die unnecessarily.”

“It is illegal discrimination for people in nursing homes to be denied adequate medical care,” he said.

“Usually there is not sufficient staffing,” he added, “and there are a limited number of people who can administer an IV. IVs are often needed at night, when there aren’t enough workers to monitor them.”

On April 10, a Karolinska University Hospital document was leaked to Dagens Nyheter which said that elderly are not being given priority to intensive care during the pandemic. Umeå University Hospital officials did not reply to queries as to whether the same policies were being applied there. Yesterday, Umeå home care workers reported verbal attacks on the street by people accusing them of spreading the coronavirus.

A regional Center Party leader, Maria Kristoffersson, published a strongly-worded editorial in Västerbottens-Kuriren this morning arguing that current national policies toward older people do not protect them sufficiently. “Right now, it is the elderly themselves who are finding their own protection and personnel,” she wrote. “We really must highlight how important it is to protect the elderly and listen to personnel working in home care.

Swedish law prohibits age discrimination in health care services. However, the law allows for “differential treatment on grounds of age if the differential treatment serves a legitimate purpose and the means that are used are appropriate and necessary to achieve that purpose.”

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed infected patients in Västerbotten rose by five to 249 today, with 20 in the hospital and 12 in intensive care, regional officials said. One death was reported yesterday, bringing the total death count to 11. Officials still have not released any details about the death announced yesterday.

The Swedish Armed Forces also told SVT today that they are sending a team of ten medical professionals to strengthen emergency services in Västerbotten. A group of five Amphibious Corps members arrived in Umeå on Monday for a four-day training, military officers said. “It is primarily when there is a heavy burden or illness among emergency medical technicians in Västerbotten that the military moves in”, the officers added.

Umeå Today obtained a new, second video today of the Holmsund car fires early yesterday morning, which police suspect was arson, and which has shaken up local residents already upset by the coronavirus crisis. In the video, which has a bird’s eye view, a loud pop like gunfire can be heard, as a part of a car presumably bursts. No other view of the fire from above has been published.

Monday’s Holmsund car fires, from above. -Umeå Today source

The source of the video wrote, “I’m a bit annoyed about this situation.”

“Those idiots!” the source continued. “Ugh!! I hope they get caught as soon as possible, I don’t want any more horrible things to happen during the pandemic… it’s bad enough already!”

Umeå Student Union President Hanna Lundin Jernberg last night argued that Umeå University has been “extremely restrictive” in its coronavirus response, in an editorial in Västerbottens-Kuriren. She called Vice Chancellor Hans Adolfsson’s decision to shut down study seating and reduce hours at the various university libraries “unequal” and “not good for the students”. She furthermore criticized the university for forbidding students access to most campus buildings so quickly that they “could hardly retrieve materials from their lockers, the fine arts campus, or meeting rooms.” She compared Umeå to other Swedish universities like Linköping and the Karolinska Institute, which still allow students to swipe into buildings with their ID cards.

Umeå University management told Umeå Today that it has “no comment” on Jernberg’s article.

City opera house Norrlandsoperan, starting today, is offering several events bringing music and dance in pandemic-safe ways to Umeå residents. The opera’s Ballet Academy, this evening and tomorrow, is performing outdoors at various locations around the city. Afrobeat dancers Big Sisters Unity are among the artists.

Big Sisters Unity. -Norrlandsoperan

Norrlandsoperan is also now offering an online platform called NO Play, with videos of live performances of various art forms, including one of the locally legendary coronavirus balcony performances in March by baritone Joa Helgesson. A brass sextet from the symphony orchestra is also planning a “digital tour of Västerbotten”, with children’s music streamed to classrooms across the county. The first concert is planned for Umeå Montessori School this week.

Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Sextet. -Norrlandsoperan

Finally, the city of Umeå starts its spring street sweeping this week, which, it says, will prove to be a more daunting operation than usual. “We have about 40 percent more gravel compared to a normal winter,” Umeå street operations manager Per Hilmersson told Västerbottens-Kuriren. The city listed which neighborhoods will be swept at which time:

April 20 to May 15: Center.

April 20 to May 22: Western and eastern sides of the center.

April 20 to 30: Västerslätt.

April 27 to May 22: Mariehem, Ersboda, Ålidhem, Tomtebo and Gimonäs.

May 3 to 22: Haga.

May 18 to 29: Ersmark and Berghem.

April 20 to 28: Teg, Böleäng and Röbäck.

April 27 to May 22: Grubbe, Backen, and Umedalen.

April 20 to May 29: Sävar.

April 20 to May 29: Hörnefors, Sörmjöle, Täfteå, Holmsund and Obbola.

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The seriousness of the coronavirus crisis has again become a topic that requires news coverage for everyone in Umeå, whether or not they speak Swedish. Umeå Today has, therefore, returned to its original mission of covering the crisis, and you can find updated information here on our webpage. Meanwhile, Umeå Today is planning to launch its 2.0 products, including The Umeå Handbook and Umeå Sunday, a weekly multimedia newscast, in early 2021. In addition to covering the crisis, we will be blogging here about the development of Umeå Today 2.0.

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