KELOWNA – A wrist band with the wrong name on it could have proved fatal. That’s the warning from an Okanagan woman after staff at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) mistakenly put the wrong identification band on her father.
“You would like to be able to come home and sleep like a baby knowing that he’s in the best place that he possibly could be and now I’m questioning that,” says Tracy Jacobsen.
Jacobsen’s father was rushed to the emergency room early Tuesday morning.
“I woke up to my dad crying for help. He was having difficulty breathing,” says Jacobsen.
So, she called 9-1-1. Once they arrived to hospital, Jacobsen says her dad was given some medication and blood was drawn for testing. As they waited for the doctor to arrive, she checked her dad’s identification band.
“I walked over to his right side and I looked at his bracelet and it was [the name of] a completely different man,” says Jacobsen.
When the doctor arrived, she alerted him.
However, she says the physician provided no apology or assurances that her father was not given medication intended for another patient. She says she made several inquiries to hospital staff and interior health officials, but did not hear back. Once Global News questioned the Interior Health Authority (IHA) about the incident, IHA responded, admitting the mistake.
“The wrong wrist band was put on the gentleman; however, we apologize for that and it shouldn’t have happened. We are looking into how that occurred and making changes to remedy it so it doesn’t happen in the future,” says Health Services Administrator at KGH, Andrew Hughes.
IHA confirms that no medication intended for another patient was accidentally given to Jacobsen, adding that this is a rare case.
“Five years I’ve been involved with KGH and this is the first one that has come to my attention,” says Hughes.
Meanwhile, Jacobsen and her father are trying to get over the shock, while breathing a sigh of relief that things weren’t any worse.
“If I hadn’t been there to advocate for my 82-year-old father, it could have been life or death,” says Jacobsen.
IHA says its investigation into how the wrong wristband was given to the patient is ongoing, adding changes will be made to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The authority also encourages patients and their families to report any issues.