Wrong Dead Shawn

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 9:13am

Hospital informs wrong family after one of two patients sharing the same name dies.

A hospital mix-up caused panic and anguish for one California family led to believe their loved one had died over the weekend.

The mistake started with the Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.

They gave a donor network the wrong next of kin to contact regarding a person at the hospital who had died.

"I was fighting back tears," said Nobel Barlow. He recalled learning that the California Transplant Donor Network had called his sister asking them to donate his brother Sean's organs.

"I was just in such trauma," Nobel Barlow said.

Nobel Barlow called his brother's cell a couple hours after hearing the news, and to his surprise, his brother was very much alive and answered.

"They thought I was dead," Sean Barlow said. "When I realized how long they had gone through this and thought that I was dead, I thought, 'Oh my God.'"

On Sunday Shawn Barlow, a well known Stanislaus County deputy district attorney and Turlock City Council candidate, did die.

"We are required by law to notify the donor network that there has been a death," said Emanuel Medical Center Spokesperson Pennie Rorex. "In our system there are two patients with the exact name."

The men had the same name, but were different ages and spelled their names differently.

"The next of kin information that was provided was for the living Sean Barlow," Rorex said.

How that happened is under investigation.

"When we determine exactly what happened then we will address how to correct the problem," Rorex said.

The hospital said it hasn't made the mistake in at least a decade.

Sean Barlow said he's still upset.

"It doesn't matter when you are dealing with something like this you have to cross your Ts and dot your Is," Sean Barlow said.

Meanwhile, a very grateful Nobel Barlow, is being a little more loving than this big brother probably ever was.

"I told him I loved him today probably more times than I have in the last 10 years," Nobel said.

Shawn Barlow's fiancée, Lindsey Robbins, said he died of natural causes.

In a statement released Monday, family spokesperson Andy Anderson said, "He was known by many, loved by all and will be dearly missed by his friend and family."

Sean Barlow and his family are expressing their sympathy to Shawn Barlow's family.

Rorex expressed her sympathy on behalf of the medical center to both families.
 

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