Skip to main content


Positive patient ID


We put a patient identification (ID) armband on your child at St. Jude to make sure we give the correct care. We want to make sure we know exactly who each child is and what they need at all times.

One way to make sure we provide safe, correct care is to ask you and your child to help with their ID. This article tells you what “positive patient identification” is, how we do it, and how you can help.

What is positive patient identification?

Positive patient identification, or PPID, is how St. Jude makes sure your child gets the correct care. They get an armband with their information printed on it at every appointment. They also get one every time they check in to stay in the hospital.

Each armband includes your child’s legal name and medical record number. This allows St. Jude staff to identify your child and check their identity during treatment.

How you can help

A St. Jude staff member will look at your child’s armband and ask you their legal name and medical record number. You may answer, or your child may answer if they are old enough.

A common question is, “You are looking at the armband. Don’t you know their name?” We can read what is there, but we also need you or your child to tell us. This helps prevent mistakes.

We call the process of checking your child’s armband, “Show me, tell me.” Your child shows us the armband while you tell us the correct information. It helps us make sure your child gets the correct medicines, treatments, and blood products. This is extremely important, because the wrong ones can be dangerous for your child. We can make this process fun for younger children. For example, your child might like to make a sign with their legal name on it. They can hold up the sign instead of answering out loud.

Please expect the St. Jude staff to check your child’s armband often. Whenever we do this, we will ask you or your child to give their legal name.

Why is “show me, tell me” important?

We want to lower the chance of a mistake as much as possible. Research shows that families and caregivers who help hospital staff identify patients correctly can help lower these chances. This is why your help in checking the armband is so important.

Another way we check your child’s ID

The St. Jude staff can also scan your child’s armband with a bar code scanner, just like you might see in the store. It helps a computer check that your child is getting the right medicines and the right doses.

We also use scanners to make sure we take the right samples for blood tests, and give the right blood products if your child needs a transfusion. You will see us scan the armband every time your child gets a medicine, has a blood sample taken, or gets blood or blood products.

What if my child does not use their legal name?

We will still ask for your child’s legal name when we check the armband. We understand your child might prefer a different name. If so, they can ask Patient Registration or any member of their care team to use the name they prefer. They can also ask us to use the pronouns they prefer. These are words, such as “he” “she” or “they,” that substitute for using a person’s name.

We will do our best to make sure your child understands that ID requires their legal name, but we can use the name they prefer at other times.

Some terms to know

Legal name — Usually a first and last name. The last name is also called a “surname.” You use your legal name for legal (law) papers, including contracts and other agreements. Your legal name is the name on your birth certificate unless a judge changed it later, or you changed it when you got married.

Patient identification (ID) armband — A paper or plastic band that goes on your child’s wrist or ankle after we learn who they are. Your child’s band has at least 2 ways to identify them, and maybe more. These ways include their name, date of birth, and medical record number. St. Jude staff use your child’s armband to make sure your child is the correct patient before we give any treatment.

Preferred name — The name you or your child want to be called. This might be a nickname, or another name different from the legal name. Or it could be the legal name.

Preferred pronoun or preferred gender pronoun — The pronoun is the word we sometimes use instead of your name, such as “he,” “she,” “it,” or “they.” Your preferred pronoun, or preferred gender pronoun, can be what you choose. It is the word you or your child want us to use when we talk to you or about you. It can be male or female, such as “he” or “she,” but it does not have to be.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).