Human error results in 200 false death notices

By Petrina Smith
Friday, 15 August, 2014

Human error has been provided as the reason erroneous death notices were generated for 200 patients being discharged from Austin Hospital in Melbourne recently. The problem occurred on 30 July when a computer file was saved to the wrong location, substituting the death notice for the standard patient discharge form.

"Austin Health automatically notifies GPs when their patients are discharged from hospital," Austin Health communications director Taryn Sheehy said.

"Notifications sent in the early hours of Wednesday, 30th July, incorrectly advised GPs that their patients, who had been discharged the previous day from the Austin Hospital, had died. Ms Sheehy said the fault was recognised within hours and all affected GP clinics were then notified. She added it was not linked to the introduction of a new booking system. "We apologised unreservedly to affected clinics who, for the most part, were very understanding about the error," Ms Sheehy said.
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