– We have a waterproof digital system. If something goes wrong and you’re removed from the world, closing things back up is a little hellish, Lisbeth Lundestad tells Talkbladet.
After being mistakenly declared dead, he spends half a year rising from the dead in the digital world.
It all started with a message from Digipost on March 28. His account will be closed as the Swedish Tax Agency has notified him of his death.
After a while, the “digital snowball,” as she calls it, started rolling. Bank account, Helsenorge, tax agency, bank ID – everything was lost to her.
– I felt digitally raped. I called around and many people wanted to help me, but no one knew how, says Lundestad.
Local newspaper Weekend First mentioned the subject.
Changed social security number
After hours of his own inquiries and countless phone calls, he finally got an answer to what happened when the 54-year-old was pronounced dead.
“I had a doctor who gave me some medical help and he exchanged my Social Security number with the Social Security number of another person who died during the transition,” he says.
She didn’t think this particular mistake was that dangerous. It was a human error and she knows that those involved regret what happened.
– What I love about life is the problems it creates digitally. You’d think it would be easy to fix, but it’s not. If such an error occurs, it is rarely possible to reverse it.
In parallel with unraveling the cause of the death notice, Lundestad worked week by week to restore his digital life.
A canceled doctor’s appointment, problems with Social Security payments from Nav and a bank account that suddenly closes — even after informing various actors about the error.
– It’s scary what’s happening. There was no one to take charge of the clean-up—mostly I had to do it myself, says Lundestad.
– How was it?
– It was horrible. You are very uncertain and afraid of what could go wrong next.
The municipality took action
Electronic death notification was introduced in Spring 2020. Before that, deaths were reported on paper. The tax agency receives about 200 canceled death notices annually.
Post digitization, updating of records is significantly faster. Fewer people have been falsely reported dead, but the effects on victims have been described by health officials “significantly larger”.
Eventually, assistant county doctor Sonja Revhag helped Lisbeth Lundestad with her case.
It ended with the state administrator in Nordland, who in May concluded that the municipality of Vefsn, where Lundestad lives, had followed the relationship in accordance with the law.
From the state administrator’s note after the municipality’s supervisory follow-up, it appears that the municipality has implemented measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.
“The municipality sees that they can learn from this incident and be clear on who is responsible for fast-tracking such incidents,” the note said.
Municipality:- Terrible situation
Lill Inger Reinfjell, unit manager for the health service of the municipality of Vefsn, was presented with Lisbeth Lundestad’s explanation of the incident and its aftermath.
– I think the most important thing is to get the story out. It was a terrible situation the patient found himself in, Reinfjell responded in an email to Dagbladet.
– As a municipality, we are not allowed to clean up the bankit and its aftermath, but we deployed the municipal system, GP, ambulance, home care and our partner pharmacy.
In addition to the clean-up, the municipal administration has taken steps to prevent this from happening again and what to do if it does.
– It’s great that they have new practices, says Lundestad
Seven months after he was declared dead, most things are back in order: there are accounts in public institutions, but something more from private actors.
– There’s a lot of back-and-forth that can be affected by mistakes like this – things you don’t even think about until you lose it.
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