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Personal Injury · Wrongful Death · Medical Malpractice

Miami Blood Transfusion Error Lawyer

An estimated 5 million people will require a blood transfusion each year in the United States. A common concern when one thinks about blood transfusions is the potential for infection.  In reality, however, because of enhancements in donor and blood screening, the U.S. blood supply is likely the safest it has ever been. The risks of contracting life-threatening pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C from donor blood have been dramatically diminished. Yet another risk remains – the actual transfusion of blood itself. Contact our Miami blood transfusion error lawyers for more information.

The Federal Drug Administration estimates that approximately 400 blood transfusion errors occur annually. Incredibly, many of these errors are related to mistakes regarding labeling, where the blood is labeled with the incorrect blood type. Other mistakes involve confusing one patient’s blood sample with another patient’s sample, resulting in transfusion of the wrong blood.

How do such devastating errors occur? Many factors can lead to blood transfusion errors, including:

  • Improper training of medical staff
  • Improper storing of blood (including blood for multiple patients stored in the same refrigerator as well as blood stored at wrong temperatures)
  • Processing blood samples for multiple patients at the same time
  • Failure to verify patient identity
  • Failure to verify correct blood unit for a patient
  • Failure to recognize symptoms in a patient that indicate an adverse reaction

Types of Injuries That Can Occur from Blood Transfusion Errors

In reality, some blood transfusion errors may go unreported if no adverse reaction occurs. This is likely to happen when a patient receives blood that is meant for someone else, but fortunately, the blood is of his own type – as in when Group O blood type, for example, happens to go to a Group O patient. On the other hand, when a patient receives blood that is of the wrong blood type, the mismatch can lead to an adverse reaction, ranging from mild to life-threatening.

Symptoms associated with an incompatible blood transfusion may include fever, nausea, chills, body aches, hypertension orhypotension, shortness of breath, kidney failure and shock. During an incompatibility reaction, the patient’s body destroys red blood cells almost immediately after the transfusion procedure. In some cases, this reaction is fatal.  The destruction of red blood cells may cause blood clotting to occur, which will shut off the supply of blood to vital organs, potentially causing the patient to suffer a stroke.  Additionally, the destroyed blood cells release components into the body that can damage the kidney and lead to eventual kidney failure.

For patients who are anesthetized (unconscious) it may be more difficult to identify signs. The only clues may be in the patient’s vital signs, which makes it all the more important that the medical staff carefully monitors the patient after a blood transfusion.

Let Pita Weber Del Prado Help

While blood transfusions have the ability to save lives, they are not without risks. These risks are compounded when human error becomes a factor. If you or your loved one has suffered because of an error made during a blood transfusion, you may have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. It is important to discuss next steps with an experienced blood transfusion and medical malpractice lawyer in a safe, confidential environment. For a free consultation, contact Pita Weber Del Prado in Miami at (305) 670-8060 today.

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