Woman Wrongly Told She Has Cancer Due To Voice Software Error

The speech recognition software mistook the word “candida” for the word “cancer”.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — A UK hospital erroneously told a woman with a common throat infection that she had cancer, after a speech recognition software made a spell-check mistake.

The Telegraph reported Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate as saying that its new speech recognition software had mistaken the word “candida” for the word “cancer”. Candida is a common yeast infection that’s easily treated.

The hospital had sent 39-year-old Nicola Denyer a letter that said: “Flexible nasal endoscopy confirms presence of cancer at the base of the tongue, which can certainly account for this lady’s symptoms.”

A week letter, the hospital sent Denyer a second letter apologising for its mistake and stressing that she did not have cancer.

“We have newly installed a speech recognition software programme that has unfortunately mistaken the word candida for the word cancer.

“Please let me reassure you that I saw no evidence of any cancer at all on endoscopy and I can only apologise for the error in your letter.”

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