20 March 1998
Story by Desiree Koh of Singapore
Edited by Will Ong
My friend's mother is a nurse, and works in the wards where terminally ill patients recuperate after operations and chemotherapy treatments. In this particular ward, there are four beds, and they are arranged 2 by 2. Something like that:
Bed A Bed B (Jay)
Bed C (Mike) Bed D
A patient, let's call him Jay, just had a cancerous cyst removed and was placed in bed B. Jay was well on his way to recovery. On bed C was a patient, Mike, who had a terminal disease and the hospital staff were actually prepared for him to go any day then.
One afternoon, both the patients in bed B and bed C were wheeled out of their room for check-ups or something. The orderlies who brought them back were relief staff who didn't know their way around very well. So Mike was placed in bed B, and Jay in bed C instead. The mistake was not discovered till later that evening when the doctors came to do their rounds.
Apparently, that was too late. From then on, Jay, who was supposed to recover within a few weeks, saw his condition grow worse, and Mike surprised everyone by getting better. The beds were literally turned, and Jay eventually passed on while Mike's health miraculously took a turn for the better.
Seems like that afternoon, some folks somewhere had decided already which one would go, and forgot that they had the wrong guy.