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Thursday, April 19, 2007

A friendly guy, but a bit rushed: A wrong patient error

I decided to try out my husband's doctor a few weeks back, as we're trying to consolidate some things. The doctor came in — a friendly guy, though a bit rushed — and ran through my chart. "I see you're not a smoker."

I agreed. Then he said, "I see you're a bit of a drinker, social drinker, huh?"

"No, I don't drink," I told him. I must have gotten sloppy on the patient questionnaire and somehow marked a "yes" when I should have marked a "no" when they asked about drinking is what I thought. It couldn't have been the doctor's mistake. It had to be mine.

So I asked him to change that on the form because I had it wrong. It wasn't until after I left the office and was talking with my husband that I realized I wasn't the one who had it wrong. Apparently after the nurse called me back, another nurse came looking for me. My husband, who waited for me in the lobby, told them they already had me back there. At which time the person next to him joked, "They've lost her!"

Turns out the nurse had pulled the wrong chart. The doctor thought he was seeing someone else. It was an entirely different doctor than I was scheduled to see — a partner, I guess. And since I was a new patient, I had no idea what the doctor I was supposed to see looked like, so I didn't realize the wrong man was seeing me. And he didn't realize I was the wrong patient he was seeing.

Fortunately, my case turned out OK. The doctor told me I had an upper respiratory and ear infection and wrote me a prescription. But I just wonder how often does something like that happen?

I called the doctor's office later to inquire as to what happened and they referred me to the nurse, who apologized and said it was her mistake.

Advice: Ask to look at your chart—it says yours, right on the label--or at least, it should….

Read another of our wrong patient stories, or the Shreveport Times’ source story

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