Keep ID Bracelets in Plain View


Hello, my name is... When you are admitted to a hospital or seen at a clinic, you are usually given an identification (ID) bracelet to wear. This bracelet lists your name, your birth date, and usually at least one other number. Some hospitals use other bracelets to signal important information like allergies. Nurses must check these bracelets before giving you any medicine to confirm you are the right patient and to make sure you are not allergic to the medicine. But what if your bracelets are hidden?

A mother wrote us about her son's surgery to remove his tonsils. Before surgery, his ID bracelet and his latex allergy bracelet had been placed on his right wrist. When the child came out of surgery, his mother noticed that his intravenous (IV) line had also been put into his right hand. Since he was a child, the nurses had also placed a soft board under his hand and taped it to his wrist. This was done to keep the IV safe and to prevent the child from pulling out the IV. However, the board and tape covered both the ID and the allergy bracelets. The mother didn't want to upset the nurses and, unfortunately, did not bring the hidden bracelets to their attention. Luckily, there was no latex used for treating the boy and he did not receive the wrong medicine. Always make sure nurses and other hospital workers can and do check your bracelets (or the bracelets of a loved one). It's one of the last checks that can protect you from a mistake!

Created on September 1, 2006

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