Whatever you do, make sure you have the right guy

Mistaken identity can result in some funny situations, as it did last year when the BBC interviewed theGoma
wrong ‘Guy.’
Guy Goma, a Congolese man, was at their studio in London applying for a job, while Guy Kewney, the editor of a technology website, was there to be interviewed about a high court verdict on music downloading. The wrong Guy was put on the air and the video of the interview still makes me laugh. Goma’s expression when he’s introduced is priceless.

But mistaken identity can also result in some tragic situations, as it did recently when a Tanzanian hospital got two men with the same first name mixed up.

The Tanzanian man who had a knee operation when he had a tumour in his brain,
has died after finally having the operation he required.

Emmanuel Mgaya, 19, died hours after the surgery, performed two weeks late.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Didas, 20, who had brain surgery
although his complaint was in the knee, is slowly recovering but he
remains partially paralysed.

The government has apologised for the mix-up, which has been blamed on both men having the same first name. [Link]

Yeah, that’s why a really smart person, many years ago, decided that people should have last names! People also have dates of birth and identification numbers that should prevent any mix ups, if the doctors and nurses are wide awake and sober.

Mr Didas cannot move his right side following the unnecessary operation. …

Health Minister David Mwakyusa said a commission has
been set up to investigate the saga and pledged to send Mr Didas to
India for specialised treatment. [Link]

They had originally planned to send him to a hospital in Britain, but were concerned that Guy Goma might be applying for a job there.

Mr Mgaya was also due to have treatment in India but died before this was possible. …

His family say they are not planning to sue the
government – they always knew he only had a 50% chance of survival, as
the tumour had grown so large. [Link]

If they don’t file a lawsuit, I hope Didas does. That would help keep the hospital accountable. If he can’t find a good lawyer, there’s a guy in London who’s willing to act like one.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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