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Medical negligence can include misidentifying patients

One of the most important aspects of receiving the proper care at a hospital in Illinois and across the country should be the simplest: accurate patient identification. However, the failure to have the right information on a particular patient is an issue that happens all too often. Those who believe that an injury was suffered or a family member died because of this particularly egregious incident of medical negligence need to understand the statistics as to its frequency and consider a legal filing to be compensated after the fact.

Examples of patients who were harmed because of this mistake range from one who was in cardiac arrest but did not receive resuscitative care because the staff believed he had a do-not-resuscitate on file, to a patient who had surgery based on another patient's records and died the day after. A report from a nonprofit researcher dedicated to public safety discovered that this happens quite often. More than 7,600 cases in which the wrong patient was given treatment meant for another were found at 181 health care entities took part in the study. The study examined cases from January 2013 to July 2015.

Since there are more methods to care for patients and a wide variety of departments that will take part, it is becoming easier for one patient to be mistaken for another. Of all the incidences in which there was a mix-up, more than 90 percent were discovered before there was any damage done. Two people died as a result, and more could have died. 13 percent of mistakes with identification happened when the patient was being registered. More than one-third of the mistakes were linked to X-rays and other laboratory work. More than 20 percent had to do with providing treatment and performing a procedure.

There are numerous strategies that facilities and medical professionals can take to avoid these errors from happening. However, that does not help those who have lost a loved one to a fatality when it stemmed from a mistake on the part of the medical facility. A patient or family that has been a victim in a missed diagnosis due to misidentification needs to protect themselves with help from a lawyer experienced in pursuing cases regarding of medical mistakes.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Medical Record Mix-Ups a Common Problem, Study Finds," Melinda Beck, Sept. 25, 2016

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