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Misidentification of neonatal intensive care unit patients

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

For most patients in the hospital, verbal or other acknowledgment of their identity helps medical professionals to ensure they’re caring for the correct person. Babies who are in the neonatal intensive care unit can’t do this. There’s a great risk of misidentifying the patient in these units.

Doctors and nurses in the NICU must always double-check whether they have the correct baby in their care or not. Checking the name on the room, looking at the identification on the baby’s bed, and reviewing the identification bracelet on the baby are all necessary to try to prevent this misidentification.

What problems can occur with improper identification of a baby in the NICU?

There are several things that can occur when a baby is misidentified. In the worst-case scenario, a baby can receive incorrect medication or undergo an unnecessary medical procedure. Babies have had surgical procedures that they didn’t need because they weren’t properly identified.

It’s also possible that a baby will receive the wrong formula or breastmilk from the wrong mother. The incorrect formula can cause intestinal problems for the baby. If untested breastmilk from another mother is given to a baby, the baby may end up with a disease.

Babies who suffer harm while they’re in the NICU often face a very difficult time in life. Seeking compensation for the damages they suffer may help the parents to afford the things the child needs to live the best life possible despite the injuries suffered as a baby. Working with someone who can review the case and determine how to handle the matter is beneficial so the parents can focus on their baby. This must be done quickly because there are time limits in Iowa law for how long they have to get the case filed.