West Sussex resident Doris Ayling recently received a letter from Fareham Community Hospital asking her to attend their maternity antenatal unit. This would be a surprise for most women who were unaware that they were pregnant. And it was doubly so for Ayling, given that she’s ninety-nine years old, and in no way pregnant.
Ayling, with her three children, seven grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren, is quite content with her number of progeny.
”I had three children when I was 20, 23 and 29. That was enough.
What’s more, she’s about to turn a century old come November, and doesn’t really think she’s prepared to rear another tike at this stage in her life.
“I was a bit amused by it all. I’ve never been to the Portsmouth hospitals and I don’t know where the Fareham hospital is. It’s a complete mystery to me how I got this letter.”
Coming up with Danny - 99 year old Doris Ayling receives a letter inviting her to an ante-natal clinic appointment. pic.twitter.com/Wr0EwGogP9— BBC Sussex (@BBCSussex) July 21, 2015
If you’re wondering if there’s another Doris Ayling out there in Sussex somewhere that is wondering why she hasn’t yet received her invitation to Fareham Community Hospital’s maternity antenatal unit, given her maturing baby bump, chew on this: the letter in question had the recipient’s birth day on it.
Which means that someone may have looked the letter, noted the pregnancy, noted the age of the mother-to-be, and said to themselves, “this doesn’t seem at all out of the ordinary.”
A spokesperson for the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust issued the following statement:
"We have written to the lady that was incorrectly sent the appointment letter."
"It was a rare administrative error and we have apologised for any unnecessary anxiety this error may have caused.”
We doubt that it caused much “unnecessary anxiety,” given that Ayling is pretty well aware how biology works.
But it could have been worse. They could have told Ayling she was dead.
One good thing has come out of this administrative mishap, Ayling thinks: an excellent ice-breaker.
“ I'm going to keep the letter because it's quite a talking point.“