When someone has been involved in a serious accident or requires a surgical procedure, getting a blood transfusion can make the difference between life and death. Such procedures have saved thousands of lives, but are also very dangerous. Whether the recipient is a trauma victim or a surgical patient with a blood condition such as hemophilia, it is vital to the health of the patient that the blood be properly screened. This must be done to determine the blood type as well as to screen for blood contaminated with HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases. A mistake or error in this regard can lead to serious injury, infection or even death. So when we are being treated by doctors, surgeons or nurses, we have every right to expect that they will be exceedingly careful, and that they will certainly not to be careless or reckless with our safety in any way.
Unfortunately, every year there are instances where medical professionals associated with health care providers, health care facilities, hospitals or screening labs are negligent in their handling of blood or its transfusion to a patient.
Some of the most common causes of medical malpractice involving blood transfusions include: Storage of blood supplies for multiple patients in a single refrigerator Failure to properly verify blood type of patient Lack of training / shortage of staff Miscommunication between members of medical staff Blood labeling errors and patient ID confusion Negligently conducting procedure on wrong patient Inadequate supply of blood Lack of consent for the transfusion of blood Multiple transfusions conducted at the same time
When a patient receives the wrong blood type, a serious condition called Acute Hemolytic Transfusion Reaction (AHTR) may result. Although this type of medical malpractice is completely preventable by the exercise of a basic attention to detail, unfortunately this a common cause of death in blood transfusion error injury cases.
When we put ourselves into the hands of doctors and other medical professionals, we expect that they will use their best efforts to help us, and not hurt us. But blood transfusion errors do occur and the results of such negligence are often devastating.
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