LaSalle hospital mix-up merges two patient files into one

Lynda Dagenais said she realized last October that her medical file at LaSalle hospital had been merged with that of another Linda Dagenais.

Lynda Dagenais says staff told her to sort through another women's personal medical information

Listen to Lynda Dagenais's full interview with CBC reporter Marie-Claude Cabana. 1:40

Lynda Dagenais said she realized last October that her medical file at LaSalle hospital had been merged with that of another Linda Dagenais.

The women's names are almost identical.  The only difference is one spells Lynda with a "y"; the other with an 'i'.

Both women even have the same birthday. 

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Lynda Dagenais says she told staff about the mix-up months ago, and was told that the archives department would clear it up.

But when she went back to the hospital recently, Dagenais found out that the problem had not been corrected.

"I thought it was a matter of time until it got fixed. When I went back last week for a procedure I realized the files were still merged."

Dagenais said she was told again that staff would take care of it, but when she returned to the hospital for a third time, her troubles continued. 

I’m worried about if I can’t speak for myself, they may use her information to treat me- Lynda Dagenais, patient at LaSalle hospital

"The lab refused to analyze my blood samples because they didn’t know which Lynda I was,” she said, after a visit on Monday. 

Dagenais said staff then asked her to go to the archive department, sort through the files, and split them on her own. 

She refused, saying she felt that task should be the hospital's responsibility.

Patients' rights advocate Paul Brunet says Dagenais should have never been asked to separate the files, since that would require her to go through someone else's private information.

"This kind of answer, if given, is wrong and illegal," said Brunet, who chairs Quebec's Conseil de protection des malades.

"The staff at the archives department, they have the duty and power to clear up the confusion," he said. 

What would happen in an emergency?

Dagenais says she's concerned about what would happen in an emergency, if the other Linda's information was confused with her own. 

“I’m worried about if I can’t speak for myself, they may use her information to treat me and I may end up in a dangerous health situation," she said. 

Brunet​ said the files should be sorted out as soon as possible to avoid that kind of confusion. 

"What dossier will be sent to the doctor and medical staff for a followup, diagnosis and intervention?" he said. 

The administration at LaSalle hospital refused to comment on the case, to protect patient confidentiality.

The hospital released a statement saying that anyone with an issue can contact the hospital's complaints commissioner.