FB Confusing Naming Conventions Leads to Medical Errors in Newborns: Survey

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When a baby is born in a hospital or birth center, the baby is often given a temporary identity immediately after birth. Newborn naming conventions vary from hospital to hospital, but usually consist of a generic first name, such as “Baby Boy,” plus the mother’s last name. This may result in babies with similar identifiers which could create a myriad of problems.

According to a survey administered by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), confusing naming conventions used by birthing hospitals have contributed to serious infant medication errors. Survey answers were tabulated from 384 NICU nurses from April through September 2019 who reported 75 different naming conventions for singleton newborns and 138 different naming codes for multiple births. The survey showed that one-third of neonatal nurses were aware of errors due to newborn naming methods in the last five years. Overall, 57% of survey respondents believed that wrong-patient errors could result from the newborn naming convention used in their facility—and more than half also reported they were aware of problems knowing an infant’s identity based on the hospital’s naming method.

Confusion among a hospital or birth center’s approach to identifying newborns can have a huge impact, including: medication mistakes (for example, medications prescribed or administered to the baby that were meant for the mother or medications given to the wrong baby); errors in feeding; performing surgery or procedures on the wrong baby (such as circumcision); or infants switched at birth and sent home with the wrong parents. The ISMP plans to review these survey findings in greater detail and make recommendations on how staff can reduce the risk of misidentification and wrong-patient errors among mothers and babies.

If you or your baby was the victim of a medical error, contact our birth injury attorneys today at 877-262-9767 for a free consultation.

The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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