February 20, 2006

Hospital announces deaths by SMS messages

Prague Monitor reports that a local hospital in Ceske Budejovice, in the Czech Republic, informs family members of the death of patients by text mesaging. Actually, the hospital sends an SMS, requesting the family to call the hospital, then they are informed of the death of a family member by phone. The practice is still considered inadmissible by ethical experts.

"The hospital sends an SMS message to the family, advising them to ring up a certain phone number. If they do so, they are informed about their relative's death, says the daily's south Bohemian issue.

Ceske Budejovice hospital director Bretislav Shon says he finds nothing unethical about this practice. He says this is a modern and the quickest possible method of delivering information all over the world. Moreover, the patient has to give his/her consent to such method of informing his/her family.

Ondrej Doskocil, an expert in ethical matters at the South Bohemian University's medical and social faculty, said he considered the SMS method absolutely inadmissible from the ethical point of view."

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