On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Hospital Negligence on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

Most people rightly assume that contemporary hospitals in Louisiana and across this country have effective systems in place to ensure they know the correct identity of each patient entering their doors and to be sure they are consistently applying accurate patient information throughout the duration of each person’s stay. Unfortunately, a woman in another state who thought her brother was brain dead discovered the hard way that this assumption does not always prove to be true. After pulling the plug on the wrong person, she is now suing the medical facility, claiming hospital negligence led to a case of mistaken identity.

The incident happened last summer when an unconscious man was admitted to the hospital and identified by his Social Security card. The person staff thought was the man’s sister was contacted, but this man and the woman’s brother have similar names and appearance. Since the patient was heavily bandaged and covered in a neck brace and tubes, his appearance was altered, and nobody questioned his identity. They were told he was brain dead. She and other family members sat by the man’s side for two weeks, assuming this was their loved one, before making the final decision to withdraw life support.

When an autopsy revealed the patient’s true identity, the woman discovered the man for whom she grieved was not actually her brother. She is now pursuing a lawsuit, claiming hospital negligence. Reportedly, she is saying the case of mistaken identity caused her to suffer severe emotional harm. Throughout the entire ordeal, the woman did not have contact with her real brother and did not hear from him until after the mistake was discovered. Meanwhile, no relatives or friends of the man who died have been located.

This woman is now in therapy, likely to help her deal with the emotional stress stemming from the act of grieving at a stranger’s bedside for two weeks, as well as the knowledge that she was responsible for the choice to end the man’s life. She has chosen to seek financial recourse from the facility that she feels should have checked important details to ensure accurate identification of their patient. Louisiana residents who believe they have also been a victim of hospital negligence may wish to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can review their case details and discuss options for legal recourse.