An identity mix-up nearly had drastic consequences for a 32-year-old Singapore woman who visited Parkway East Hospital last Tuesday, 6 March.
The woman, Ms Chen, told the Chinese daily that she had experienced discomfort in her stomach on Tuesday morning when she visited her family doctor: “My stomach was feeling very painful on that day, so I rushed to my family doctor early in the morning. The doctor told me that I might have appendicitis and arranged for a medical checkup at the hospital.”
When Ms Chen reached the hospital, she was told that she would have to be warded. After the hospitalisation procedures were completed, Ms Chen underwent a blood test following which she was taken to a shared room on the fourth floor.
Ms Chen grew suspicious as she had requested a single room: “When they brought me to the room, I found that it was a shared room. I felt that something was off and told a nurse that I wanted a single room, not a shared one.”
It was at this point that the nurse rifled through some medical records, and asked Ms Chen, ‘Are you Ms Li?’
Ms Chen recounted:
“I don’t know how they could have made a mistake like that. They later brought me to the correct room and told me that I did not have appendicitis. I was discharged the following day.
“However, I’m still afraid thinking about what had happened. If I hadn’t discovered that they had me mistaken for someone else, could I have taken some medication that I wasn’t supposed to, or even undergone a surgery?”
Ms Chen contacted the hospital about the mix-up once she was discharged and the hospital has since responded and apologised to her.
A hospital spokesman has reported that the investigation that began the same day the hospital was alerted to the incident has concluded and that the blood samples drawn from Ms Chen were not mixed up with samples drawn from another patient.