It is important for Connecticut health care professionals to be sure that they are treating the correct patient. Problems with patient care such as surgical errors and misdiagnosis can occur if hospital workers do not verify that they have the right patient beyond just one form of identification.
Aside from using the first and last name of the patient, The Joint Commission recommends that hospitals also use the date of birth of the patient as another identifier. This second piece of information can help to disambiguate two people with the same or a very similar first and last name.
Patients can take part in making sure that they are being identified correctly. Hospital and clinical patients have the right to provide their date of birth to ensure that the medical caregivers have the right patient. It is important to note that misidentification can be dangerous for both patients with similar identifying information. A patient can be misdiagnosed or prescribed the wrong treatment. Conversely, the wrong medical information can be put into the wrong medical record. Because more than one person could be in peril due to a mistake in identification, it is essential that both patients and hospital staff do their part to ensure that the right patient is treated.
Wrong-patient error can be a very dangerous situation for a patient. If an incident occurs in which an individual suffers from a medical error after having been misidentified, it may be advisable that the individual get professional advice. An attorney who works in the field of hospital negligence might be able to assist such an individual by answering questions and reviewing the legal options.