Knowledgeable and Experienced Guidance

What is patient misidentification?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

When patients go to the doctor for treatment, they trust the provider. While misidentification may seem unlikely at a primary doctor’s office, it can easily happen in an emergency room or hospital facility.

Patients may interact with various doctors and treatment providers, including laboratory technicians, nurses, and specialists, at a medical facility.

Causes of patient misidentification

One of the leading causes of misidentification is similar names or identifiers. For example, if you have a common name, there is a high chance that other patients share it. You may even have patients who share your name and birthdate. Additionally, data entry errors can result in providers viewing the wrong medical history in your file.

Medical professionals should verify your identity with reliable methods. For example, you should double-check your name and medical identification number.

Consequences of patient misidentification

Misidentification can lead to medical errors, such as administering treatment to the wrong patient or accessing incorrect medical records, which can have serious health consequences. Delivering the wrong medication to a patient can result in further injury, illness or wrongful death.

Additionally, patients may receive delayed or inaccurate diagnoses if their medical history and information are attributed to a different individual.

Providers compromise safety when they make decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete information. In addition to physical injuries, patients may experience financial harm due to incorrect billing. Patients may have to pay for treatment they did not receive or unnecessary treatments.

Medical providers must maintain protocols for collecting and verifying patient information to minimize errors and inconsistencies. Misidentification resulting in patient injury is a form of medical malpractice.