February 5th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell
When I read this article I got a chill down my spine, as it really is a nightmare. The Canterbury District Health Board sends out customer satisfaction surveys to patients after they have received treatment, which I think all would agree is a good thing. The exception of course is sending the patient a survey when they have died. This error is compounded by the fact that the patient is a young child.
The hospital acknowledged and apologised for their mistake admitting that it was a clerical error and while they have measures to prevent this from happening this one slipped through.
My thoughts after reading this article were, is this really news?, we send out thousands of survey invites a year and never did I think that making an error would find it’s self newsworthy. But then perhaps I am just a cold hearted researcher, maybe non-researchers (i.e. the general public) somehow view survey invites in a different light. While I am in no way defending the hospitals mistake, it is quite sloppy, it really is a very simple, well meaning error to make.
When I returned to the article I felt reassured in my views by other readers who commented on the story. Comments included the following:
“Clerical error – happens all the time. It’s just very, very unfortunate that it would happen under these circumstances.”
“I agree this survey didn’t arrive at an appropriate time – but any feedback does allow services to better the process. some times changes don’t occur or go noticed straight away – but being honest is best to allow these services to be addressed.”
“this is news?”