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Blood transfusions allow the victims’ blood supply to be replenished which ensures a steady supply of oxygen to the body and keeps a patient alive. While many emergency procedures are undertaken with the utmost scrutiny and awareness, acts of blood transfusion medical malpractice continue to occur throughout Long Island and the whole of the United States.
What is a blood transfusion? What are the risks?
Blood transfusions play a critical role in medical emergency situations where an injury victim is losing, or has lost massive amounts of blood and needs it to be replaced in order to avoid death – such as surgery or a traumatic event. Simply speaking, a blood transfusion is a way for a patient to receive the blood of another through an intravenous (IV) inserted into their own body. Typically, this process lasts for several hours and is very common in America – over five million residents receiving them annually. Typically, due to the common nature of the procedure, it goes well, but not always.
Just what are the risks of a blood transfusion?
There are several things that can be considered “risky” during a blood transfusion that should be addressed by knowledgeable medical professionals. For example, a patient could have an allergic reaction – even if the doctors give the correct type of blood. If the doctors fail to notice the symptoms (ex: pain in the chest and back, difficulty breathing, etc.) and do not stop the transfusion, it can become a serious issue.
Other things that can complicate the procedure include a virus, infection or fever. While it is not common to be infected by a virus from having a blood transfusion, there is a risk of catching HIV, Hepatitis B and C, as well as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) and any other virus transferred by blood. Other risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Injury to the lungs
- Overload of iron
- Acute immune hemolytic reaction
- Delayed hemolytic reaction
- Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)
There are a variety of ways that a blood transfusion injury may occur, and many are associated with incorrect labeling or storage, or mistakes made by poorly-trained professionals or in chaotic, high-stress circumstances where multiple blood transfusions are taking place simultaneously.
These causes and others are responsible for an alarming number of annual deaths due to blood transfusion injuries, and the doctors, surgeons and other healthcare professionals responsible for these negligent acts should be held accountable for their mistakes.
Call The Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC today!