Dying is a messy business. Having watched my father endure the process involving three hospitals and a SNF in the final month, I have been impressed with the primitive nature of medical record keeping today even in the most efficient and effective of medical institutions. My father had a long history of problems with bleeding ulcers resulting in extreme surgery to remove most of his stomach. Lately he had been under the care of an HMO with a Medicare plan. There was no central depository of his medical records. One of the facilities, the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, sought valiantly to locate all of his recent records, but limited staff in other facilities resulted in significant delays in obtaining vital information.