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Wrong Barlow family notified of death
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The death of prosecutor and City Council candidate Shawn Barlow prompted a mistaken death notification for one Stanislaus County family.

The family of Sean Barlow was erroneously told he had died, only to find him well and quite alive when he answered his cell phone a few hours later.

The chain began at Emanuel Medical Center. The hospital is required to report all deaths at the hospital to the California Transplant Donor Network, said EMC spokesperson Pennie Rorex.

Rorex said there are several steps taken between the hospital and the network when it comes to organ donation, first of which is delivering the basic patient information, which the network received for the correct Shawn Barlow. The network then followed up with the hospital and at some point in the process requested the next of kin information, which is when the mistake happened. The network was given the next of kin information for Sean Barlow, not Shawn Barlow.

The network contacted Sean Barlow’s family, asking them to consider organ donation and caught them completely unaware.The news of Sean Barlow’s death, albeit mistaken, spread through his family, who were thrown into a tailspin of grief.

Hours later, Sean Barlow’s brother Nobel Barlow called his brother’s cell phone and received the unexpected, but completely welcome surprise of hearing his brother’s voice.

Rorex said the hospital is investigating how the mistake happened. Initial results indicate it may have been a problem with the software used by the hospital, Rorex said.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.