Here is an urban legend that gets around, and it has been told in many different ways. It’s the same basic story, but it’s been passed around and even published as news in several different variations.
One variation goes like this:
In a medical ward in South Africa, on a ward dealing with very ill patients, it was noted that patients in the same room passed away around the same time each night. No one could figure out what was causing them to die, and the pattern continued for several weeks.
It was always around the same time, and it was always in the same room. Concerned family members and medical staff asked that something be done. So the hospital posted someone to watch the room, and at the time when the deaths occurred, they saw a maintenance worker enter the patient’s room, walk over by the patient’s bed, and unplug the medical equipment.
Then the maintenance worker plugged in a robot vacuum cleaner and began to clean. This may have been something you heard as a punch line- that someone would accidently kill someone just to use a vacuum cleaner. It’s the ridiculousness of the notion that people are being killed by an unwary worker who just need sot vacuum that really sets this one of as a legend more than a factual story.
But there is actually plenty of evidence to suggest that this incident began as something similar and was greatly embellished. It traces back to a German story where a maintenance worker did unplug a patient’s medical equipment, but no one died.
The story has been reported as factual in a number of publications over the decades, but it is obvious they all originated from the same false tale and have only managed to get into print because of their ridiculousness.…