Doctors at Rotherham Hospital were confronted by the upset patient on their rounds after he told them about the message on his radio-controlled clock.
Staff discovered that the clock had reverted to a German setting and was displaying an abbreviation of Dienstag, which means Tuesday.
Dr Stuart Carter recalls the incident in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, published today. He said: “He was happy with his treatment and reported that he had received exemplary care from the hospital staff. But, he declared ‘The clock is telling me to die’.
“Turning to the wall, the team confirmed that the clock indeed said ‘DIE’. The team quickly rectified this by pressing several buttons to show the English abbreviation ‘TUE’.
“Fortunately, it was not the patient’s time to die after all.”
The edition also reveals that agent James Bond’s weekly alcohol intake is more than four times the recommended limit for an adult man.
Experts say they recognised he had a high-pressure job but would advise 007 to seek help for his drinking, noting that in Casino Royale, he drinks more than 39 units – equivalent to 20 pints of beer – before engaging in a high-speed chase and losing control of his vehicle.
They add: “We hope this was a salutory lesson.”