My Medical Typo Hell!

This article 1st appeared in the Daily Scrump on 11th April.


The Department of Health was quick to defend the reputation of its new standardised medical software, “PIGS-EAR,” despite increasing reports of disturbing errors in patient diagnostic coding. Lionel Harrington, aged 43 gives the following account.

“I woke up one Friday morning with the most horrific pain in my foot. I could barely walk and my big toe was throbbing like a porn star’s bell-end. I looked the symptoms up on the internet and self-diagnosed gout.”

It was when Mr Harrington visited his GP that afternoon that events took an unusual turn.

“I went in with gout, and came out wearing a toga! I tried to explain that it must be a mistake, but the doctor just said that the computer didn’t make mistakes. I had to spend the rest of the day driving my bus around Lambeth dressed as a Roman. I was so humiliated!”

And it isn’t just general practice where the errors are occurring. Barbara Henshell is a schoolteacher in Birmingham.

“I was admitted to hospital at the beginning of March with a hernia, but when I arrived back home, there was a lion and a witch at the back of my wardrobe. It took hours to brush the snow out of my clothes.”

However not everyone is so critical. Keith Hughes of Clacton says he owes his life to PIGS-EAR.

“I was at work when I suddenly felt this terrible pain in my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Apparently I collapsed to the floor and stopped breathing, but I don’t remember anything about it.”

Mr Hughes was rushed to Clacton General Hospital by paramedics, but pronounced dead on arrival, but as fate would have it, the hospital computer software changed his diagnosis from “dead,” to “a dad,” and he left hospital the following day with twins.

“I never thought I’d be a father again at my age,” said a delighted Mr Hughes. “If it weren’t for this new software, it would have meant my funeral, but instead we were able to celebrate twin Christenings.”


About Dr Rupert Harker

I am the author of the Urban-Smith mysteries. Book 2, The Werewolf of Worttenham Wood is due out in June.
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