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January 21, 13

NEWS / Israeli man signs own death certificate

An Israeli man signed his own death certificate, confirming that he had died during surgery. The bizarre incident appears to have happened because of a minor glitch in the hospital’s electronic cataloguing system, as well as the man’s poor Hebrew reading skills.

Solomon Cohen, 73, went to Barzilai Hospital in the city of Ashkelon in south-west Israel to treat his heavy back pain, Hebrew daily Yidioth Ahronoth reported, as referenced in English by The Times of Israel. He underwent some fairly simple back surgery, and was soon fully conscious and ready to sign his discharge papers. However, he did not notice that instead of the standard release form, what he got was a document stating that “the patient died while undergoing surgery” and that “after the operation the family will be notified.”

One could only imagine just how shocking such a notification must have been for Cohen’s relatives. Luckily, the issue was soon resolved with the hospital, and Cohen was eventually released after recuperating from his surgery.

However, Cohen and his family did have to deal with some long-term effects of his purported “death.” Cohen’s son said it took months for them to reinstate his national health insurance, which had been cancelled upon receipt of the death certificate.

The hospital itself apologized for the incident, stating that an “error” had been added to the form given to Cohen during a revamp of its computerized forms and notifications system. Barzilai Hospital also underscored that the mistake had “no effect on the quality of treatment or documentation at the hospital.”

Tags: document, death certificate, death certificat,


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