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Florida bill would let police help hospitals biometrically ID the unidentifiable

Florida bill would let police help hospitals biometrically ID the unidentifiable

A bill in the Florida state house would allow hospitals to request biometric identification of unidentifiable patients.

Any law enforcement agency could answer the call, taking biometric information — including face images and handprints of a living or deceased patient.

Assuming they are successful, the agencies could reply with broadly proscribed last-known identifying data including name, address, phone number “or other identifying information of such patient to notify the patient’s next of kin.”

House Bill 1021 has yet to be heard in any of the three approving committees that can send the bill up for a full House vote. The biometric ID language would be inserted in a provision, section 765.401 of the state’s statutes, which deals with caring for unidentifiable patients.

An article in Florida Politics notes that there currently are at least 300 cases of unidentified bodies just in Miami-Dade County.

It is not uncommon or even overly controversial for health care organizations to deploy facial recognition and other biometric tools to prevent medical mistakes, fraud and unauthorized entry. Calling in police to use the same identification techniques for unidentifiable patients is less common.

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