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Preventing wrong-patient errors

New Mexico patients may be interested to learn that situations where a treatment or procedure is administered to the wrong patient still occur in all stages of diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, health care providers may document a patient's information in the wrong medical record or fail to verify that they have the right patient before making a diagnosis or administering a treatment. These errors can result in serious medical consequences or even death.

The verification of the patient's full name and date of birth has two main purposes. First, the information allows the patient to be reliably identified as the person supposed to be receiving treatment. Second, the information also allows the treatment to be directly matched to the individual. By verifying the information, it is expected that the number of wrong-patient errors can be reduced.

If a treatment meant for someone else is given to a patient who does not need it, the patient could suffer a worsened medical condition, increased medical costs or even disability. If there is evidence that a mistake was made due to the failure to ensure that the doctors had the correct patient before giving treatment, the patient may have the grounds to file a lawsuit based on doctor negligence.

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