Omer Zak and Peretz Zack – a medical examination confusion

Today I was in Memograph in Petah Tikva, a medical diagnostics institute to which my health fund refers patients who need to have their ankles (and some other body members) X-rayed or subjected to ultrasound examination.  I needed to have my ankle X-rayed.

I arrived at the place to find a long and overdue queue.  The delay was about an hour and half.  I gave the X-ray requisition form and Form 17 to the receptionist and told her that I am deaf.

Then I waited.  The wait was made more bearable thanks to the coincidence that three other Deaf men came for their own tests, two of whom I already knew and the third was a new acquaintance for me.  It was nice to pass the time chatting with them.

About the time I was due to enter the X-ray room, the receptionist surprised me by trying to hand over to me a CD which purported to have already contained my X-ray photos.  I protested and explained that I was not examined at all.

After some investigation and head scratching, it turned out that the X-ray technician called out for a Zak.  The receptionist did not realize that my shoulder needs to be tapped.  So another Zak got in – Peretz Zack, who by coincidence needed to have his ankle X-rayed as well.  His ankle was X-rayed according to the instructions in my form and he left soon afterwards.

After the confusion was clarified, I was called in and had my ankle X-rayed.  Some time later I got the CD and analysis results – which I hope that they indeed correspond to my own ankle rather than to Peretz Zack’s.

As I walked back home, I analyzed the event.  The mistake was due to the following:

  1. The patients have their paperwork taken by the receptionist, who hands it to the X-ray technician.  When a patient enters the X-ray room, he is not positively identified by the X-ray technician as corresponding to the paperwork waiting for him inside the room.  A post-it paper with the patient’s name given to the patient in exchange for the paperwork would have solved the problem.
  2. The receptionist was not trained to warn the X-ray technician NOT to use the public address system to summon a deaf patient, but rather to have someone tap on his shoulder.  This is more tough one, given the relative rarity of deaf patients.  Today’s get together of 4 patients was probably once in a lifetime coincidence.

From now on I’ll probably have to be on the lookout for medical records really belonging to Peretz Zack, which got into my medical files because he, by mistake, somehow assumed my identity.  At least until the medications, which I take due to my heart attack, kill him.

Guide dogs for the deaf and the deaf-blind

Everyone knows about guide dogs for blind people.

There are also guide dogs for deaf and deaf-blind people.  Those dogs are trained to alert their masters when there are some important environmental noises.

Those who serve deaf-blind people are also trained to pick up things, which are dropped on the floor, and bring them back to their masters.  This is useful since when, for example, a deaf-blind person loses his keys, he doesn’t hear the noise of their dropping on the floor and once he notices the loss, cannot easily look for them by sight.

People, who need to have such dogs trained in Israel, can contact the Ali Hope nonprofit, which specializes in such a training.

I secured a place in a biography of a prominent scientist or: The longest birthday party I ever attended

The story starts at the late 1980’s, at which time I did my M.Sc. work under Prof. Jacob Klein.  It was a strike of luck for me, as I did not set out to look for a top notch advisor, but ended up having such an advisor.

Twenty years later, as one of his former M.Sc. students, I was invited to a workshop, which was dedicated to his 60th birthday, and which was held between 21-23 June this year.  I was happy to attend it, soak some science, and meet old acquaintances.

The workshop was relatively small and intimate.  There were few tens of participants, and several of them also lectured and presented posters.  Most of them were students, collaborators or colleagues of Prof. Klein.  At the workshop’s end, people remarked about the high quality of research described in the lectures.  Scientists were also not afraid to venture forth from their zones of comfort and discuss also subjects about which they did not have all the answers.  So one could notice that some post-lecture questions were answered by “I do not know”.

Rachel Yerushalmi-Rozen, one of the workshop organizers, arranged for me full coverage of notetakers so that I could follow all lectures.  They did good enough work so that I was not bored, even though fundamental cognitive and motor limits of humans prevented them from writing down everything that was being said during the lectures.  The notetakers had to be proficient with the terminology used in the lectures, so they were students of the workshop’s organizers.

The first part of the workshop was held in Schmidt Auditorium in Weizmann Institute of Science, and when it ended, a group photo of the participants was taken.  Such group photos often end up in biographies of scientists, who participated in them.  The caliber of the workshop’s participants was such that several of them are current or future prominent scientists.

In one of the evenings we were treated to a dinner and a rare night visit in the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo (see also in the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Biblical_Zoo).  After the night tour, still in the zoo, Prof. Klein blew out candles on his birthday cake and we were treated to a presentation of photos of highlights of his life, so that the 3-day workshop would qualify also as a birthday party.

An accessible video clip

… which is in stark contrast to the ultra-Orthodox attitude against people with disabilities.

The captioned (in Hebrew) video clip is the second video in http://www.hofesh.org.il/articles/books/books.html (in Hebrew), and it is about a book shop, which avoids displaying an anti-religion book due to threats from the town’s rabbi’s wife.

A new software developers’ mutual help Web site (no longer) rudely excludes deaf software developers

The newly announced http://www.stackoverflow.com/ Web site confines all communications to the audio format. No provision for textual transcription of the audio podcasts exists. Users’ submissions are accepted only if they are in audio format. This is probably the founders’ newest idea for filtering out spam and flames.
However, it is a case of rude inaccessibility. Please do not contribute and do not browse the Web site – and let the founders know your opinion about this case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
The announcements in the founders’ blogs are as follows:

What next, a Web site, which excludes gay software developers?

23 APR 2008 UPDATE:

The podcasts are now transcribed into text, making them accessible to the deaf as well as being helpful to people, who want to discover them using search engines, and people having no time to listen through the entire podcast.
The transcription mechanism is Wiki-based, allowing people to transcribe text piece by piece. So even if you have only 15 minutes to spare, you can still make a contribution.
It is still necessary to persuade them to accept questions as text in addition to sound clips…

The Earth Hour and the Deaf

I am not going to participate in the Earth Hour, which is due to be held tonight in Tel Aviv between 20:00-21:00.
This is in spite of my support for the idea of taking care of our environment.
The reason – due to my deafness, I need light and various electronic appliances to communicate with other people.
Note: I do not live in Tel Aviv itself, but I’d participate in the project if it were not for the accessibility issue.

Additional links:

    Are you the Webmaster of an IE-only Web site?

    Then the following is a must read for you:

    How Not To Do Market Research

    Web sites, which support only IE, would not be visited by people, who use other browsers. So OF COURSE, they would not “report enough traffic to justify” support for W3C standards and/or other browsers.

    By the way, my Web site’s browser statistics since the start of November 2007 indicate the following browser percentages (disclaimer for Israeli Webmasters: my Web site’s audience is international):

    MS Internet Explorer 42.6%
    Mozilla 31.7%
    Unknown 12.5%
    Firefox 9.7%
    All the rest 3.5%

    Blogging About Disabilities

    I write in this blog not only about crazy ideas, but also about accessibility and deafness.

    Lorelle on WordPress wrote a blog article about people who blog about disabilities. This article repeats the old stuff (known to people with disabilities, but not widely known otherwise) about the percentage of people disabilities in the general population, mentions the relevant legal issues (specific to USA), and links to several relevant and interesting blogs.

    The above article also refers the readers to Globe of Blogs – Disabled Blogs for more disabled blog links.

    Videoclips with subtitles – Halelujah!

    Ilan Shavit publicized three videoclips about Israel.

    I was happy to be surprised to see that those videoclips have subtitles in Hebrew, making them accessible to the hearing impaired, who know Hebrew!

    The links to the videoclips are:

    1. Israel – Part 1
    2. Israel – Part 2
    3. Israel – Part 3