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Technical glitch declares 200 patients dead in Australian hospital

Olivia Newton-John sips a cup of tea after speaking to the media prior to the formal opening of the Olivia Newton John Cancer & Wellness Centre at Austin Hospital on September 20, 2013, in Melbourne, Australia.
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

“The report of my death was an exaggeration” according to Mark Twain and some 200 patients at Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia share that sentiment after being declared dead by a technical malfunction according to a report in the Newsmax website on Aug. 14, 2014. The patients were supposed to have been discharged but a file was saved to the wrong location according to The Age that notified the patient’s doctors that they were dead. The patients laughed the error off but Australian health officials are taking a more serious view of the incident.

Imagine the physicians shock when they received a death notice for a perfectly healthy patient that had been in the hospital for a minor procedure. No doctors informed families that their loved ones had died according to reports in the Herald Sun. No media has mentioned any litigation as a result of the incident but you could be sure doctors and patients in the United States would be meeting with lawyers as soon as possible. The incident does point out flaws in electronic record keeping.

Politicians in Australia are weighing in on the incident that occurred on July 30, 2014, claiming that an overworked health care system that is in crisis is the root of the problem. Plans are being made to revamp the health system in Australia to avoid more serious computer mistakes in the future. The response sounds like Republicans talking about Obamacare.

The hospital has apologized profusely for the incident and is in the process of rewriting the program that produced the error. As medicine becomes more electronic little glitches are bound to crop up. This incident produced no serious harm but the storm of coverage from U. S. news sources and news agencies all over the world indicates an anticipation of newsworthy horrors produced by electronic record keeping that is macabre to say the least.

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