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Bad Bedside Manner? Paralyzed Man Overhears Doctors Telling His Family That He Will Die

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Paralyzed Man Hears Doctors Tell His Girlfriend and Mother “There’s No Hope”

A Swedish man, Jim Fritze, filed a complaint against doctors for preemptively telling his girlfriend and mother that “there was no hope” after the man suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed, but still able to hear and see.  According to Fritze, he heard doctors telling the two women that he was doomed to die and discussing the possibility of organ donation with them.  He has made a full recovery, despite the doctors morbid projections.

Stroke Awareness and Prevention

A stroke, or a “brain attack”, is when a blood clot blocks an artery that carries blood from the heart to the body or when a blood vessel breaks and interrupts blood flow to the brain.  When either of these events occur, brain cells start to die and the abilities controlled by those parts of the brain are lost.  How seriously a person is affected depends on the severity of the brain damage and where the stroke occurs in the brain.  The National Stroke Association recommends using the FAST method to identify a stroke, which stands for Face (is the face drooping?); Arms (can the person raise their arms or does one arm tend to droop downwards?); Speech (is the person’s speech slurred or hard to understand?); and Time (call 911 immediately if the person exhibits any of these signs).

Man Suffers Stroke While on Vacation, Doctors Tell Family Death is Imminent

Fritze, age 43, suffered the stroke while on vacation on a small island near Sweden.  It took paramedics 90 minutes to transport him to the hospital, and by the time he arrived he was completely paralyzed.  Doctors told his girlfriend and mother that it was highly likely that he would die, and that they should consider whether or not they wanted to donate his organs.  Fritze could hear the doctors, but was unable to alert them because of the loss of speech.  However, after two years he has regained his ability to move and to speak, although he is still confined to a wheelchair.  The hospital, Sahlgrenska Hospital in Sweden, says it will take his complaint “very seriously”.