Amongst all the rare and bizarre occurrences in the city of Mumbai is story of German national Teresa Poehlmann. Ms. Poehlmann issued a complaint with the Maharashtra Medical Council with the issue of wrongful treatment. When she felt acute pain in her abdominal region, she admitted herself into the Holy Family Hospital, Bandra to conduct some tests. The not-so-comical matter is best explained in Teresa Poehlmann's words- "I checked into the Holy Family Hospital on November 23 after experiencing a sudden, unbearable pain in the abdomen. I was attended to by Dr Bryan Sodder, who recommended that I get admitted as he suspected kidney stones or a pancreatic inflation. After a series of tests, including an ultra-sonography, they told me my gallbladder was functioning fine and I was like, ‘where did you find one?"Poehlmann said. She said that her gallbladder had been removed in a German hospital after stones had formed in the organ. "I had told them at the time of admission that I didn't have a gallbladder. It was mentioned while they noted down my medical history. Despite this, they prescribed medicines to remove gallbladder stones. I was so scared, I took discharge despite doctors trying to convince me to stay," she said.In light of these recent developments, the hospital has issued an apology to Ms. Poehlmann, in spite of her complaint to the Medical Council. In the issued apology letter, the hospital blames the error on a printing mistake, bearing the signature of Dr. Veena Louzado, the head of the Radiology Department. It said, "The print report was pre-formatted and they did not remove the gallbladder part from the paragraph."When asked, the hospital's medical director, Dr. Amida Fernandez also blamed the printing error for the mishap. To be more specific, she was quoted as saying, "after the patient complained, I personally inquired and found that the error was made by a clerk in the Imaging Department. All our reports are printed on preformatted sheets and the clerk should have removed the mention of gallbladder. We immediately rectified the error and issued a fresh report. There is no question of wrong medication as the patient took discharge from the hospital even before the treatment could start. It was a human error, and we ensure best possible treatment for all our patients."While the repercussions of this mistake remain to be seen, the whole incident reveals the chaotic nature in which our hospitals are run. To treat a woman for a gallbladder issue, when she doesn't have a gallbladder in her body, is a funny enough notion until you consider the possibility of the same occurring with a more serious issue. And pardon me for being biased in my rhetoric, but, I don't really buy the whole printing error story. Surely, a hospital should be held to higher standards? It's not like our lives are at stake here. Oh wait, they are.
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