Patient ‘lucky’ to avoid disaster after hospital’s identity mistake

David Edwards, whose medical records where confused with another person's at Weston General Hospital

David Edwards, whose medical records where confused with another person's at Weston General Hospital. - Credit: Archant

A Weston-super-Mare man fears there could have been ‘catastrophic’ consequences after he was treated using the medical records of another person at Weston General Hospital.

David Edwards, of Cecil Road, was treated as if he were a different man of the same name and date of birth – and he believes he is ‘very lucky it didn’t end in disaster’.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) has apologised to Mr Edwards, and is investigating how the mix up occurred.

Mr Edwards, aged 60, was taken to the hospital’s A&E department in an ambulance on March 18 after experiencing chest pains.

He gave his personal details to check in, before being treated in the A&E corridor and discharged that evening with a prescription.


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He went to collect his medication the following week, but at the pharmacy he spotted his prescription included incorrect personal details. The same mistake was made on his ID wristband and discharge letter.

He had been treated using the wrong medical records, being falsely identified him as a David Edwards from Norfolk, who shared the same date of birth.

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Mr Edwards believes the error could have been fatal, hypothetically being given unsuitable medication because the wrong records were used to coordinate his care.

He said: “I’m very lucky it didn’t end in disaster.

“This mistake could have had catastrophic consequences – it could have been manslaughter.

“I am not disappointed with the care I received, but I am disappointed with this error. The hospital has to strengthen its identification process.

“I’m fine and healthy now, but this has concerned me. It has made me wary of going to the hospital and it is unthinkable what could have happened.

A WAHT spokesman said: “This is an extremely rare occurrence and we have apologised.

“We have reassured Mr Edwards every single step of his treatment and care was right and appropriate and the correct medication was prescribed.

“We have a robust set of clinical procedures in place to maintain patient safety.

“We are now establishing how Mr Edwards’ records were logged as a patient with the same name and date of birth as him.

“If we need to make any changes or take further action we’ll do so immediately to avoid this from happening again.”

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