BJC mistakenly tells woman her daughter is still alive

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A hospital mix up has left a mother heartbroken and looking for answers.

Carol Dement went to Barnes Jewish Hospital in the Central West End, desperate to find her daughter Alexandria Allen.

The hospital could not locate Allen for several days.

Dement eventually found out her daughter had died through the medical examiner’s office.

Barnes says they couldn't identify Allen when she was admitted and mis-interpreted the patient admission information.


  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Only the FINEST quality people work at large behemoth corporate health care organizations! Simply the best – if you don’t count all the others!

    • momma sandstedt72

      And only the rudest people work there too! That is why I refuse to go there. They are no better than me.

  • jen royer

    Where there are humans involved there will be mistakes. No matter how big or small the corporation is, there will be mistakes.

  • alyssa cowin

    We are suppose to trust everyone we meet in the medical industry with our lives. But no one ever think a to question them. People freak out when the order is wrong at a fast food joint ans we only pay them 7-8 $. We pay doctors how much an hour? And no one seems to interested in making sure these people do their job right.

    • Casey M.

      Is that why they get sued constantly and due to all the lawsuits the price of healthcare skyrockets? Because no one cares what kind of job they do.

    • alma

      It was no doubt not a doctor making this phone call. Probably someone just getting started, and/or a lower paid job. BUT last time I checked millionaires are still human, and humans make mistakes.

  • Karen Simpson-Wedding

    Not to diminish this mother’s grief, but it say that the woman was admitted at 2am and died 2 hours later. Mom didn’t start looking for her for more than 24 hours later, so how can she blame them for not being able to say goodbye? The timeline doesn’t work.

    • Cathy

      Karen, her daughter was a grown adult. An adult that had a drug addiction. So with knowing that, the mother was more than likely used to having her daughter take off for days on end, There should not have been a mix up had the friend given the correct information to the emt’s. No matter what, the police and hospital employees should have followed through when they knew she was in a life and death situation. Her fingerprints were in a data base. That is how the coroner found her mother. So, it sounds to me like something needs to change. Even if you set all of that aside, the fact that this mother was told her daughter was okay and would be going home, well after she had expired doesn’t make sense to me. That means whoever took the call, has admitted the hospital knew that it was her daughter that was in the ER that day. They did not do their job and try to find her loved ones.

    • A.J.

      Exactly! What’s the story here??????? They made a mix-up and said she was alive when she had already passed. You know how many people walk through those doors everyday and this person was not identified. Why is the hospital to blame???? Move on.

    • Jenni Lovsey

      Why are you making excuses for this hospital? If they cannot even take someone’s info properly, what makes you think that they are even paying any attention to any of the other areas of patient care?

  • alma

    I agree, there will be mistakes everywhere. It’s sad, and in this industry, it’s more delicate, but geez… I work retail and people think everyone should be perfect all the time, and pounce on the first mistake they can. Humans should be a little more forgiving. And to say, “I went this whole time thinking she was ok, and would be coming home.” Not to be mean but, why not go down there to see her?

    • rjb2ma

      I don’t understand how you can say people in STL are so heartless. Not everyone in STL is heartless. There are heartless people everywhere but there are also good people everywhere the same as there are good people in STL. Don’t put everyone in the same category when you don’t know everyone in STL.

  • unknown

    I just think this is 100 % wrong and unacceptable in the medical field . Now i understand we all make mistakes – but we’re talking about death here. Imagine having someone tell you oh your daughter is fine , and then oh i am sorry we’ve mistaken her with someone else. I feel like mistakes like this shouldn’t be made. I work in a medical field and i feel like this is just wrong and I feel sorry for the family- i would understand if a wrong diagnosis was given to a patient or wrong test was ordered or even a wrong medication – but being mistaken for death , i am just speechless. Now we don’t know the whole story of how it happened and who was actually the person that announced the news- but either way it’s wrong and should be more concerned and TRAINED – and NOT everyone should make calls on situations like this .. just PUT YOUR SELF IN THIS FAMILY SHOES- and what would you actually do if it was your loved one? – would you say oh we are all human and make mistakes?

  • Amanda Anderson

    I Wanna send my prayer and condolences to the family and friends and to everyone that has been affected by such tragedy and the loss of such a young beautiful life.My god walk beside during such tragedy and mournful time..Sorry for your loss from the ANDERSON FAMILY COLLINSVILLE ILL

  • Lisa richards

    Wasn’t it Barnes that lost a patient in the elevators for several days? And left a patient with chest pain in the ER waiting room so long, she has passed on and they didn’t even notice? And we are shocked by this???? Mixing big business with hospital care never works for the patients.

  • Larry Brady Carney

    I have been a patient at BJC, and I am convinced they helped extend my Mother’s life by the excellent surgery she got there. I believe they provided excellent care there in both cases. I also lived in St. Louis for 30 years. Yes, someone at BJC made a terrible mistake that caused this family grief. That is horrible. I expect that the person who made the mistake feels awful about it, and if they could would go back and do things differently. Now would each of you that criticized BJC, their staff, and St. Louisans in general please re post about how you have never, ever made a mistake on the job, or in life for that matter. Especially you poor people that work your butt off, I am so glad you can work so hard and never make a mistake. I didn’t realize that poor people never make mistakes!

  • tjd

    First, my heart goes out to this mother. Losing a child, regardless of her age or past is something any mother will say cannot be measured or paralleled. That being said, it amazes me the number of people lashing out against the doctors and nurses, who take a hippocratic oath (98% of medical students do) to first, do know harm; second do their absolute best in treating EVERY patient; third honor and protect the rights of patients; and fourth, adhere to the highest ethical standards as if these doctors and nurses are the ones at fault. I’m not a doctor or nurse, nor do I work for BJC. However, anyone who has been to a Large hospital, rural hospital or Dixie office knows typically it is not a doctor or nurse who handles admitting. Furthermore, from what I heard, the story did not indicate that it was a nurse or doctor who misinformed this mother. If the deceased enters through the ER, and perhaps was not coherent, there is a lot of information that may not have been effectively communicated to the staff to properly identify the patient immediately, and I know I was certainly not fingerprinted at any of my ER visits. When a patient enters an ER in a life or death situation, Unfortunately pertinent information may be overlooked at admission because the focus is on saving the patient. As a result many of these admissions must be pieced together. Even the best laid plan (in anything) is paved with good intentions. That does not, however, make it perfect or fool proof. Those of you throwing stones at these doctors and nurses and the alleged big bucks they’re making need to wake up. There is a shortage of both doctors and nurses for a number of reasons, one of which I’m certain is due to the growing number of people like you who yell “Sue” and throw stones with every incidental mishap. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling this situation an incidental mishap. It is a tragedy. It is very sad that it happened. But to slander a hospital that is among the top in our country is ridiculous and juvenile. ( one of 18 hospitals out of 5000 hospitals in 2013 named to the Honor Roll by U.S. News by scoring in the top in at least 6 categories, top 25 for cancer care in 2013, top 20 in cardiology & heart surgery, top 20 in endocrinology, and top 15 for gynecologic just to name a few). Sometimes things go wrong in hospitals, just like they do in your office or retail store or gas station or restaurant. And sadly and unfortunately we may encounter rude or lazy employees, just as we do in the places you work. But at the end of the day, I guarantee if you or a loved one were broadside at Kingshighway and 40 and needed emergency care within minutes in a life or death situation, i guarantee everyone of you would be seeking the help of one of these detestable doctors and nurses who are allegedly billionaires. My condolences to the mother and her family.

  • MyCatLovesTV

    The night of my mother’s triple bypass surgery at Barnes we were in one of the waiting rooms, two women were crying. Seems their husband/father had also had cardiac surgery but nobody could tell them where he was. Eventually, the older woman became hysterical and the hospital had some employees take them away. My sister and I were distressed. Fast forward to my mother having a stroke on the table and in a coma for a week before passing away on her own. My sister spoke to the surgeon on the case and was told, “I don’t know what the hell you expected….she was already sick.” The coldness in his voice was horrible. That was 1984 and to this day my sister feels that she “should have known” and not let our mother have the surgery. Back in the early 80’s my father had a vein graft to get circulation in his feet. He had diabetes. The surgeon was a wonderful doctor my dad had been seeing for years. No problem there. But one day I went to visit my dad and the nurses were complaining at the nurses station. “That old man in XXX is really getting on my nerves. He wakes up too damn early in the morning and then asks for help with his bedpan…..” It was my father in room XXX and I just glared at those poor excuses for caregivers. That “old man” never had anything except kind words for anybody he met. He worked on the Frisco Railroad until diabetes took his sight. His job required he wake up early and he was just in the habit of doing so. Not that it should matter! It was that woman’s job to assist my father with his bedpain no matter what time he woke up in the morning.

    I miss those two people with all my heart. I will never forget the behavior my sister and I encountered during our parents’ medical problems. And I would not send my worst enemy to Barnes Jewish. Now in middle age I have had many medical issues myself and needed various surgical procedures. I’ve had excellent care at another hospital and always demand to have my procedures there. I would like to think that things have changed at Barnes but people have given me examples of simlar experiences of extreme rudeness and poor people skills. We need not just our bodies cared for but our emotional well being as well. I think that sometimes a medical center can be just too big. Too big to fail? Perhaps. But positively too big sometimes to treat people like the individuals they are….and not slabs of meat.

    • KJ

      I work for Barnes, and I do come in contact with rude people everyday. I am so sorry for your horrible experience. I work in the radiology dept, but I deal with nursing staff every day. Some are very compassionate and some I just can’t believe went into a profession that is supposed to take care of people when they are in a vulnerable state.

      • Win rn

        Unfortunay, this is at every hospital. Not just bjc. You just haven’t encountered it yet. I hope you reported this behavior.

  • bob

    Kathy (comment way up at top of comments ,, NO where does it say “the coroner found her” Why do you add in your own details,, and if you know all that through E.S.P, then please tell me the final score of superbowl, since you know all this unpublished stuff

  • Notperfect

    So, with some of the comments being made on here, it seems people are making it sound like Barnes killed the patient. From what I understand, the girl died from circumstances, and they are irrelevant at this point. None of us on here really know what happened, so how can we judge anybody?? I know it’s a huge organization, but unfortunately mistakes will be made, that’s why they’re called “mistakes”! Is there a sign posted in hospitals saying “on these premises, a single mistake will not be made”?

  • kathryn

    I’m a friend of the family. Her sister and I went to high school together and our kids have grown up together. Thank u for all te responses to this and no she was not an addicted, and yes she was grown but it still does not bjc the right to give oit misinformation. I have friends who work tere and still think of bjc one of best hospitals in st Louis. People do make mistakes but I have to say this was uncalled for and whoever it was that gave tis information should be either fired or have some action taken against them.

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