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Dunbar NM, Kaufman RM. Transfusion (Paris). 2022;62:44-50.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors can be classified as intended patient drawn/wrong label applied or wrong patient/intended label applied. In this international study, errors were divided almost evenly between the two types and most were a combination of protocol violations (e.g. technology not used or not used appropriately) and slips/lapses (e.g., registration errors). Additional contributory factors and recommendations for improvement are also discussed.
Vossoughi S, Perez G, Whitaker BI, et al. Transfusion (Paris). 2019;59:2827-2832.
This analysis of transfusion-related safety incident reports found that such events were more commonly reported for pediatric compared to adult patients. This finding could reflect differences in reporting practices or underlying transfusion safety differences. The authors call for continued attention to transfusion safety.
First admitted to the hospital at 25 weeks of pregnancy for vaginal bleeding, a woman (G5 P2 A2) received 4 units of packed red blood cells and 2 doses of iron injections. She was discharged after 3 days with an improved hemoglobin level. At 35 weeks, she was admitted for an elective cesarean delivery. Intraoperatively, an upper uterine segment incision was made and the newborn was delivered in good condition. Immediately after, a subtotal hysterectomy was performed. The anesthesiologist noted that the patient was hypotensive; blood was transfused.
Kaufman RM, Dinh A, Cohn CS, et al. Transfusion (Paris). 2019;59:972-980.
Wrong-patient errors in blood transfusion can lead to serious patient harm. Research has shown that use of barcodes to ensure correct patient identification can reduce medication errors, but less is known about barcoding in transfusion management. This pre–post study examined the impact of barcode labeling on the rate of wrong blood in tube errors. Investigators found that use of barcoding improved the accuracy of labels on blood samples and samples that had even minor labeling errors had an increased chance of misidentifying the patient. The authors conclude that the results support the use of barcoding and the exclusion of blood samples with even minor labeling errors in order to ensure safe blood transfusion. An accompanying editorial delineates the complex workflow, hardware, and software required to implement barcoding for transfusion. A past WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving a mislabeled blood specimen.
Najafpour Z, Hasoumi M, Behzadi F, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2017;17:453.
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is a tool that facilitates prospective risk assessment and is frequently used to assess the risk of various processes in health care. The authors describe the use of FMEA at a single institution to improve the safety of the blood transfusion process.
Clifford SP, Mick PB, Derhake BM. J Investig Med High Impact Case Rep. 2016;4:2324709616647746.
Transfusion errors can have serious consequences. This case analysis discusses a wrong-patient transfusion error in a hospital's emergency room and reviews findings of the subsequent root cause analysis, which determined training weaknesses, time pressures, and distractions within the team due to the chaotic nature of trauma care.
Dunbar NM, Szczepiorkowski ZM. Curr Opin Hematol. 2014;21:515-20.
Mistakes during blood transfusion can contribute to patient harm. This review discusses the use of health information technology, such as computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support systems, in transfusion medicine to enhance reliability of ordering practices and enable monitoring of adherence.
At a skilled nursing facility, an elderly woman with myelodysplastic syndrome was found to be mildly anemic, and her oncologist arranged for her to be sent to the hospital and transfused with 2 units of blood. Less than 1 hour after the second unit of blood finished transfusing, the patient rapidly worsened and had a respiratory arrest.
Van Spall HGC. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:893-894.
The physician author recounts the story of her father's death—a death that she feels was preventable and caused, in part, by errors in judgment made during his care.
Understanding that she may lose her life without it, a woman severely injured in a collision rejects a blood transfusion for religious reasons. However, her parents persuade the physicians otherwise, and the woman lives.