Today I was in Memograph in Petah Tikva, a medical diagnostics institute to which my health fund refers patients who need to have their ankles (and some other body members) X-rayed or subjected to ultrasound examination. I needed to have my ankle X-rayed.
I arrived at the place to find a long and overdue queue. The delay was about an hour and half. I gave the X-ray requisition form and Form 17 to the receptionist and told her that I am deaf.
Then I waited. The wait was made more bearable thanks to the coincidence that three other Deaf men came for their own tests, two of whom I already knew and the third was a new acquaintance for me. It was nice to pass the time chatting with them.
About the time I was due to enter the X-ray room, the receptionist surprised me by trying to hand over to me a CD which purported to have already contained my X-ray photos. I protested and explained that I was not examined at all.
After some investigation and head scratching, it turned out that the X-ray technician called out for a Zak. The receptionist did not realize that my shoulder needs to be tapped. So another Zak got in - Peretz Zack, who by coincidence needed to have his ankle X-rayed as well. His ankle was X-rayed according to the instructions in my form and he left soon afterwards.
After the confusion was clarified, I was called in and had my ankle X-rayed. Some time later I got the CD and analysis results - which I hope that they indeed correspond to my own ankle rather than to Peretz Zack’s.
As I walked back home, I analyzed the event. The mistake was due to the following:
- The patients have their paperwork taken by the receptionist, who hands it to the X-ray technician. When a patient enters the X-ray room, he is not positively identified by the X-ray technician as corresponding to the paperwork waiting for him inside the room. A post-it paper with the patient’s name given to the patient in exchange for the paperwork would have solved the problem.
- The receptionist was not trained to warn the X-ray technician NOT to use the public address system to summon a deaf patient, but rather to have someone tap on his shoulder. This is more tough one, given the relative rarity of deaf patients. Today’s get together of 4 patients was probably once in a lifetime coincidence.
From now on I’ll probably have to be on the lookout for medical records really belonging to Peretz Zack, which got into my medical files because he, by mistake, somehow assumed my identity. At least until the medications, which I take due to my heart attack, kill him.