How can I make sure my name is recorded correctly in the hospital?

Patient identification can present problems in hospitals. Names that look and sound similar, rhyme, or are easily mispronounced can increase the chances of “wrong-person errors.” A few suggestions to help minimize confusion:
  • When you register at the hospital, make sure your name is recorded completely and correctly. A middle initial could differentiate you from another patient, so it is important to provide this information.
  • Always identify yourself with your full name and make sure others use it before administering any drug, test or procedure. There are lots of folks with the first names Bob, Maria and John and last names of Smith, Rodriguez or Jones.
  • It is a good idea, particularly if you have a common name, to post a sign on your bed with your full name. You can also include a picture. Be sensitive, however, that the sign should follow you in the hospital, and should be removed when you leave your hospital room.
  • Make sure you are not on the same floor as a patient with a very similar name. Hospitals should avoid this, but it does not hurt to ask, particularly if you have a common name.
  • Make sure your patient wristband is correct and visible.
  • Do not get irritated if your healthcare team asks you over and over again for your name and birthdate. This is for your personal safety and protection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.