How Can A Baby’s Name Contribute To His Or Her Health?

Posted on August 21, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

A new journal article published in Pediatrics suggests waiting to name your baby can put it at increased risk for medical mistakes. Even when parents do not pick names directly after birth, hospital staff still must create identification bracelets anyways.

Hospital staff will use “temporary names” that can create confusion, especially in higher risk environments such as neonatal intensive care units. Some of these temporary names are generic and strikingly similar to each other. For example, hospitals will use the first name Babyboy or Babygirl.

Temporary names are then stuck in the hospital computer systems until discharge, even if the parents finally do decide on real names.

Nonspecific first names can lead to medical mistakes such as prescribing the wrong medications, reading imaging and lab tests incorrectly, and giving breast milk to the wrong babies. The risk is high because newborns cannot consent to treatments or identify themselves.

In some cases, these medical mistakes can have serious consequences. Reading lab tests incorrectly could lead to harmful and unnecessary treatments on newborns.

How Can Hospitals Prevent Medical Mistakes Involving Newborns?

When hospitals used specific naming procedures, the rate of medical mistakes involving newborns dropped. Instead of using generic names like Babygirl or Babyboy, hospitals used Jennasgirl and the patient’s last name. Once adopting this change, the researchers noted medical mistakes dropped by 36 percent.

Medical mistakes are preventable tragedies that cause injuries and deaths to patients. When medical mistakes affect children, they are unforgivable catastrophes. Hospitals have an obligation to adopt policies that help protect the most vulnerable patients.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Tags: NICU


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