Short Story Fiction
Johnson and Johnston (With a T)
Scott A. Gese

Their almost identical names were a recipe for disaster. The disaster was about to commence.

Johnson and Johnston (With a T)NCI/Unsplash

Eric Johnson and Eric Johnston (with a T) were good friends. They had known each other since their college days. Some people found their names confusing but the two Eric’s thought it was quite amusing. They realized the confusion was an honest mistake by people not paying attention.

One evening in late October, the two men were returning from a football game where they watched the home team kick butt against its arch rival. They were in a good mood, laughing and joking. Eric Johnson was driving and not paying close enough attention to the road. A drunk driver pulled out in front of him and he t-boned the car at close to forty miles an hour.

The cars were mangled. An amazing emergency crew worked hard at getting both Eric’s stabilized. They were then transported to the local hospital and admitted to the emergency room.

Eric Johnson was unconscious. He had a ruptured spleen, two broken ribs, a head injury and a broken right leg. He had also lost a large amount of blood. Once he was stabilized he would undergo emergency surgery to remove his spleen.

Eric Johnston (with a T) was also unconscious. He also had suffered a head injury. Plus a back injury and a broken left leg.

The doctors in charge were moving fast to get the two Eric’s out of danger.

Their wives were notified and quickly arrived at the hospital. One of the emergency room doctors came out to consult with the two women. He had a copy of their charts and went over the injuries both men had received and how they were currently being treated.

The women asked to see the charts. They examined the personal information on the charts and quickly realized the doctor had mixed the two up. The chart for Mrs. Johnston’s (with a T) husband showed he was about to undergo surgery for the ruptured spleen. The chart for Mrs. Johnson’s husband showed he had the back injury and not the ruptured spleen.

The women quickly pointed out the mistake to the doctor. They were quite adamant about making sure the charts were straightened out and the correct Eric went into surgery.

The doctor assured them it was an honest mistake and that that type of a mix up only happened on television. There were protocols in place to protect the patient and the hospital from such accidents. No such thing would happen here.

After visiting with the two women, the doctor went back to the emergency room. Just to be on the safe side he decided to check the updated charts. As he stood at the foot of the bed and examined the chart of Eric Johnson he noticed a discrepancy. This Eric had a broken right leg, but the chart showed a broken left leg.

He went to check the chart of Eric Johnston (with a T) but found the patient and the chart were gone. “Where’s Eric Johnston?” He asked the charge nurse.

“They just rolled him down to surgery to remove his ruptured spleen.”

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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