Willens Law Offices Articles Blood Transfusion Errors - Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Blood Transfusion Errors - Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

By Matthew Willens  Jan. 30, 2017 12:52p

According to the available reports, in 2008, there were 54 transfusion related fatalities in the United States. In 2009, 66 fatalities were reported and in 2010, 64. In the U.S., preventable medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death, and claims over 400,000 lives annually. Medical errors cost the nation tens of billions of dollar each year. It is believed that one in three patients visiting a hospital will be harmed in some way as a result of medical mistakes, and unfortunately, these numbers are growing at an alarming rate.

Chicago medical malpractice lawyer explains that many patients who have to undergo blood transfusion are concerned about receiving blood contaminated with deadly diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis, however, there are other causes of worry as well. A medical condition known as Acute Hemolytic Transfusion Reaction (AHTR) is the most common cause of blood transfusion related fatalities.

The sad part is that most of these fatalities are preventable and occur when an incorrect or incompatible blood type is given to the patient. Around 13 deaths occur each year due to these errors.

Common causes of blood transfusion errors

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has prepared a list of main causes for blood transfusion errors. These include:

  • Errors in patient identification, specimen labels or blood labels
  • Incomplete or Improper verification of patient blood transfusion
  • Lack of informed consent for blood transfusion
  • Insufficient staff orientation and training
  • Starting a cross-match before receiving an order, or cross-match of multiple samples at the same time
  • Failure to identify the signs and symptoms of a reaction to blood transfusion
  • Insufficient staffing levels
  • Incomplete communication between medical professionals involved in the treatment
  • Storing multiple blood samples in the same refrigerator

Types of blood transfusion errors

There are a wide variety of errors that can occur when it comes to blood transfusion. Some of these errors include:

  • Transfusion of wrong blood type: It is crucial that the blood given to a patient matches their ABO and RhD antigen. If not, the immune system will attack the blood and cause a severe allergic reaction.
  • Unnecessary transfusion: A patient does not require a transfusion in every condition. Excess blood transfusion can result in various complications.
  • Contaminated blood: Doctors should ensure that blood used for transfusion is properly tested. If it is not tested properly, the patient receiving transfusion can become infected.
  • Lack of transfusion: In cases where the patient has lost a lot of blood, the blood should be transfused as soon as possible to prevent the heart from stopping. Failure to do so, can cause death of the patient.

Seeking legal help for blood transfusion related injuries

If you have suffered injuries or health problems, or your loved one has lost their life due to blood transfusion errors, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible doctor. You case can greatly benefit from the help of a top-rated Chicago injury lawyer. Call (312) 957-4166 today for a free case evaluation.

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