An Ashkelon man signed his own death certificate during a hospital stay for minor surgery, causing his relatives to later receive notices that he had died during the operation, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.
Solomon Cohen, 73, went to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon to undergo a minor operation to treat his heavy back pain. Cohen, who evidently cannot read Hebrew well, was asked to sign discharge papers, which he did. He didn’t realize that what the hospital would later call a “computer error” had caused the standard release agreement to be switched with a document that stated that “the patient died while undergoing surgery” and that “after the operation the family will be notified.”
Cohen, who came through the surgery with flying colors, was still recuperating in the hospital several days later when his sisters received notices of his death.
The matter was quickly rectified with the hospital, but Cohen’s son said that it took months to reinstate his father’s national health insurance, which had been canceled because of the death notice.
Barzilai Hospital apologized for the incident, explaining that during a recent revamp of its computerized forms and notifications system, an “error” had been added to the form Cohen was given. The hospital was quick to point out that the mix-up had “no effect on the quality of treatment or documentation at the hospital.”