Patient Misidentification in Oncology Care

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Patients with cancer are at risk for patient misidentification, or “wrong patient” incidents. Patient misidentification can result in medication and transfusion errors, unnecessary testing or procedures, and, in some cases, death. Patients may be misidentified when nurses mispronounce their names, refer to them by their first or last names only, are complacent and fail to check armbands, or encounter language or communication barriers. Errors caused by patient misidentification can be prevented when healthcare providers consistently use two unique patient identifiers (other than the patient's room, examination, or chair number) to verify identities.

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