It couldn’t happen here

or could it?

The papers today are full of the story about the leading hospital in Tanzania where two people with the same name came in for operations – one for a brain tumour and the other knee surgery. You can guess what happened… they got mixed up and the hospital are busy apologising.

Okay, “third world” you say “but that couldn’t happen in this day and age in the UK”. Well not quite so dramatic but when visiting a relative in hospital only a month ago, the person in the next bed was in for a second hip replacement because the first one had been done on the wrong leg. A few years ago a person died after a transfusion of the wrong blood as his surname and first name got reversed and became the name of another patient in the hospital at the time eg: Andrew Ross / Ross Andrew.

In this highly technological age, with chips as cheap as chips, there must be a more efficient and reliable way of tracking people in hospital and avoiding disasters such as these.

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