Blood Transfusion Errors - Malpractice
Patients worry about receiving blood contaminated with AIDS or hepatitis and their concern is well founded. However, the most common cause of death from blood transfusion is a condition known as Acute Hemolytic Transfusion Reaction (HTRs or AHTRs). Most of these fatal reactions are completely preventable and occur when a patient is given an incorrect and incompatible type of blood. These errors result in an estimated 12 to 13 deaths per year in the United States and many other injuries.
According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the root causes for blood transfusion errors include:
- incomplete patient blood transfusion verification
- failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of a transfusion reaction
- lack of informed consent for a blood transfusion
- multiple samples being cross-matched at the same time or a cross
- match being started before an order is received
- insufficient orientation and training for staff members, and
- insufficient staffing levels
- storing blood for multiple surgical patients in the same refrigerator
- incomplete communication among caregivers
- patient identification, specimen label or blood label errors.
Finally, another form of blood transfusion malpractice can occur when surgeons simply fail to transfuse a patient who needs blood or delay too long in transfusing a patient so as to cause serious injury or death. In any event, when patients are injured or die due to blood transfusion errors, doctors, nurses, hospitals and other at fault healthcare providers can and should be held responsible.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a blood transfusion error and you would like to speak with an experienced negligence lawyer, please contact us to speak to one of the malpractice lawyers at Boyers Law Group, for a free consultation about your legal rights.