Medical Center Mistakenly Tells Wrong Family Their Loved One Was Dying

notification-Protocol
In an unfortunate incident last week, a Toledo, Ohio medical center told a woman that her mother, who had come in for a routine tooth extraction, had gone into cardiac arrest and was on life support.

Andrea Stebbins brought her mother, Belinda Helton, to Mercy St. Vincent’s Medical Center on February 3, 2016 for the procedure. As she waited for her mother to get out of surgery, a doctor and a nurse came out to tell her that her mother had gone into cardiac arrest and was on life support, Omaha television station WOWT reports. They advised her to notify family members immediately.

The notification was a mistake, but before the doctor realized the error and returned to tell Stebbins, she had given the bad news to her 87-year-old grandmother. “[The doctor] came back and told me he was extremely sorry that there was a mistake made,” said Stebbins, “and that he indeed gave me information in regards to another patient.” Belinda Helton’s procedure had gone well and she was in recovery.

Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center issued a statement that said, “The compassionate and high quality care we provide to our patients and their families is of the utmost priority to all of us at Mercy. Yesterday afternoon, a family who was waiting for a loved one at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, was incorrectly notified about the condition of their loved one. The clinical team recognized the error within minutes and the notification was corrected.” Mercy St. Vincent offered an apology to the family and said it was “reviewing notification protocols to prevent such occurrences moving forward,” WOWT reports.

Stebbins said that her mother is recovering well from her procedure. Stebbins said she hopes that sharing what she describes as a “very traumatizing” experience, another family does not have to go through a similar situation, according to WOWT.

 

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