Australian hospital accidentally declares 200 patients dead

An Australian hospital apologised "unreservedly" Thursday after sending out notices to the doctors of more than 200 patients telling them they had died instead of being discharged.

The error by Austin Hospital in Melbourne was spotted within hours and the doctors were contacted, but not before at least one had called a family member to express their condolences, the Herald Sun newspaper reported.

Austin Health, which runs the , said the notices—which were sent on Wednesday, July 30—were a result of "" after changes to a death notification template were saved to the standard discharge template.

"On recognising the error on the Wednesday morning, Austin Hospital immediately contacted all GP clinics affected," Austin Health spokeswoman Taryn Sheehy said in a statement.

"We apologised unreservedly to affected clinics who, for the most part, were very understanding about the error."

Sheehy added that was not affected, but the president of the Australian Medical Association's Victoria state branch, Tony Bartone, said the blunder was "unacceptable".

"IT issues must not undermine patient care or trust in the Victorian healthcare system," he said in a statement.

"Many of these GPs have long relationships with these patients and their families.

"It would have been distressing to receive such a fax, especially relating to the unexpected death of children and teenagers."

Related Stories

Australian hospital in baby switch error

date Jul 18, 2011

Two Australian mothers were mistakenly given the wrong newborns in a mix up which saw the infants breastfed and cared for by the wrong woman for some eight hours, the hospital said Monday.

Ubisoft apologises for Australian stunt bomb scare

date May 29, 2014

French video game developer Ubisoft apologised "unreservedly" on Thursday after an Australian office was evacuated and a police bomb squad called out in a public relations stunt gone wrong.

Two US hospital workers test negative for MERS

date May 14, 2014

Two healthcare workers at a Florida hospital that is caring for a Saudi patient with the dangerous MERS virus have tested negative for the illness, the hospital said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Experts question election pledges on GP access

date 4 hours ago

As the general election in the UK approaches, experts writing in The BMJ this week question whether the party promises on access to general practice are likely to be achievable.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.