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Wrong Natalie and the curious call from the hospital

When the right name for the test results is the wrong person.

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NICK BRUNT
  • NICK BRUNT

Natalie Rosen was 19 years old, going through a breakup and had a one-way ticket to Iceland when she got a call from the IWK Health Centre telling her she was pregnant. “I immediately started freaking out,” says Rosen. “I asked ‘Are you sure it’s me?’ and she repeated my name and I thought ‘Oh no!’”

Rosen had undergone a physical exam a couple days before to prepare for her trip, but until that moment hadn’t suspected a pregnancy. The hospital employee was calling to schedule a 12-week ultrasound appointment, and was surprised to discover Rosen’s doctor hadn’t already talked to her. Rosen remained on the phone in tears for the duration of her 20-minute bus ride to work.

“I was explaining my whole life to this woman on the phone,” says Rosen. “I told her how I couldn’t possibly be pregnant because my life was in this transitory period and I couldn’t handle that.”

The woman from the hospital, by then also frantic, eventually asked when her birthday is, and that’s when the case of mistaken identity was revealed. Once she realized the phone call was meant for another patient with the same name, Rosen remembered her family doctor occasionally saying “Wrong Natalie!” when she opened her medical file during appointments.

The Natalie Rosen the phone call was intended for is a 36-year-old clinical psychologist and professor, with a private practice in sex and couples therapy. Her youngest son Evan is now three years old.

The elder Rosen’s studies focus on women who experience pain during sex, women with low sexual desire and couples’ sexuality during the transition to parenthood.

“Now I’m really interested in her work,” says the younger Rosen about her namesake. “I wouldn’t have thought to look her up otherwise.” She says the experience had an impact on her and she still thinks about it frequently.

“For a second I was living this other person’s life,” she says. “I had my own reactions at the time and it made me feel a certain way, but she could have received the same call and been ecstatic.”

As it turns out, the Rosen who actually was pregnant says the experience was “joyful and positive.” Although the two have never met, she says she feels “a special connection” to her junior. “It’s just such a unique connection that I’d want to hug her and find out more about her.”


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