Medical Center Mistakenly Notifies Thousands of Patients Right Before Christmas That They Have Cancer

Imagine scrolling through your messages and finding one from your medical center notifying you that you have an aggressive form of cancer. Forget totally ruining someone’s Christmas, this is the kind of message that could cause someone to have a heart attack, or at least a panic attack. Sending one person such a message by mistake would be considered a serious error, but sending that message to thousands of patients is nothing short of a catastrophe. The Askern Medical Practice in Doncaster, UK, has around 8,000 patients and it's believed that on December 23 it accidentally sent a cancer notification to most, if not all of them. The text informed recipients that they had aggressive lung cancer with metastases and advised them to fill out a special form for people with terminal diseases. As you can imagine, many recipients reading the message were horrified. Some had actually gone in for various tests recently and were expecting results, so learning that they had an aggressive cancer was the worst news they could have received. Panicked patients started calling Askern immediately, only to be put on hold, which just served to exacerbate their anxiety. Fortunately, the nightmare was short-lived and only about an hour after the first message went out patients received a second message telling them that the first one had been a mistake. It appears that the medical practice had intended to send an automated Christmas message to its clients, but somehow ended up telling them all they had lung cancer. As Ricky Ricardo would say, “Someone has some 'splaining' to do."