Generic Baby Names Increases Risk of Medical Errors

Selecting a baby’s name is quite a challenge.  It’s a major decision and many parents do not take it likely.  Do parents use a name that has family history?  Do they come up with a name that represents a quality they hope their child will reveal?  Do they use a popular, trendy name?

baby foot generic namesIn fact, many new parents may not be able to decide on a name until after the delivery. But that delay may not be a good idea. According to a new study, hospitals that use a generic baby name system could create problems for the newborns and their parents.

A baby labeled with a generic name, like “baby girl Hobson” or “boy Smith”, faces a much higher risk of medical errors.  Generic names are too similar to each other.  There is a risk that nursing staff could make medication errors. For instance, a baby could be given the wrong medication or the wrong treatment.

As many as 12% of all babies end up in a neonatal intensive care unit. They may stay there for weeks. Throughout this period of time they may continue to be called by their generic names.  This is true even if the parents have picked out a name for their child. Babies in an ICU are very fragile and cannot risk medical errors.

The stakes are higher in a neonatal intensive care unit because the margin for error is so incredibly low. Even a single medication at a higher dose could prove fatal to a newborn baby.

But there are options that might be able to reduce the risk of the generic name system that is currently in place.  The researchers have come up with a new naming system that would include the mother’s first name in the naming system. Instead of having a baby named “baby girl Hobson” for instance, a baby would be named “Mary’s babygirl Hobson.”

This new system makes the child’s identity much more specific.  According to the researchers this practice could significantly reduce the risk of medical errors.

Hospitals can take simple steps to protect their patients from possible medical malpractice.  Ensuring newborns are clearly identified is an obvious measure that could save lives.

The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons who have suffered medical injuries as a result of errors in a hospital. If you have suffered injuries because of the negligence of a medical professional, discuss your legal options with a medical malpractice lawyer in Indiana.