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Written Mistakes: Numbers Can Be Typos Too!

Written Mistakes: Numbers Can Be Typos Too!

We’re now well into the New Year.

Do you still find yourself sometimes writing 2018 instead of 2019?


Most often, we think of typos in the form of extra letters in a word, or letters accidentally placed in the wrong order. But typos can be in the form of numbers too, and they can be just as dangerous, if not more so.


Wrong measurements in a recipe book can make for too sweet a cake or too sour a lemon pie, but what if measurements were poorly written in the concrete mix for the foundation of a building? Or a scientific experiment; or the administration of a medication? A wrong number in a prescription could have devastating effects on someone’s life. For example (taken from a real-life experience), an extra 0 turning 30 mg into 300 mg could have life-threatening consequences. (In this case, the error was caught by a pharmacist who refused to fill the prescription as it was; the mistake was traced back to the medical database that the ER doctor had been consulting.)


What if there was a mistake or inaccuracy in important records such as a birth or death certificate, a passport, your SIN? Imagine the potential consequences and the headaches and hours spent trying to get such an error rectified.


This is not meant to raise everyone’s anxiety level, but to serve as a cautionary tale. The need to pay attention to details, to review your written content (or to have a professional proofread it – Hint, hint!), to double check your exam answers before you turn them in, to check the screen when the cashier tallies your purchases, etc., should not be overlooked. Oh, and do give a second look to that phone number you jotted down nervously… Seriously, you DO want to call the right person back for that date, no? ;-)