Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 23, 2019

11-year-old with lymphoma got life-threatening misdiagnosis from local hospital, mother says
Sander Higraff, 11, was recently declared cancer-free after six months of chemotherapy at an Olso hospital, but an incorrect diagnosis by Longyearbyen and Tromsø doctors lasting ten months after his condition first appeared in 2015 could have been fatal, said his mother, Kristin Woxholth. She is a trained nurse who met repeatedly with local doctors about her son’s swollen lymph nodes, but was told such swelling is quite common in children. “In retrospect, it is difficult to understand that the hospital had a system that could allow this,” she said. An initial diagnosis in Tromsø also failed to reveal the cancer after the swelling receded somewhat. “In retrospect, it is difficult to understand that the hospital had a system that could allow this,” she said. In June of 2016 her son was finally diagnosed with lymphoma, but Woxholth insisted he be treated in Oslo since she no longer trusted the northern area doctors. The county governor of Troms concluded in September of 2018 the health care provided was a breach of the prudence requirement in specialist health services and University Hospital of North Norway, including Longyearbyen Hospital, must improve its routines and guidelines.

Neighbors upset new housing complex 2.4 meters higher than planned


A new housing complex being build hastily in a neighborhood near the shore is nearly one story higher than originally planned, prompting complaints from neighbors who say their view is being blocked. Photo courtesy of Statsbygg.

A new 30-unit housing complex in Gruvedalen is 2.4 meters higher than the original officially approved design, prompting complaints from neighboring residents. “One thing is that we’re losing our views,” said Per-Ove Kristensen, one of the neighbors. “But more importantly, we have not been warned that it will be higher.” Statsbygg received permission for the extra height the same day it applied, April 8 – but a city official said in a sense it wasn’t extra. “The plan allows the height that the building has now,” said Morten Dyrstad, head of the city’s technical sector. “Originally, Statsbygg sought to build lower than the limit in the sub-plan for the area.” Statsbygg Project Manager Inger-Johanne Tollaas said that there are requirements for working heights below the complex – notably a one-a-half-meter clearance beneath district heating, water and drainage pipes – that made the larger overall height necessary. The project is among several being built quickly to alleviate a severe housing crisis resulting from more than 140 residents being condemned as unsafe because they are in “red zone” avalanche areas.