Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2013 — The wrong blood used during a transfusion killed an 84-year-old patient.
“People go to hospital to get better. They expect their doctor and hospital staff to treat them with dignity and care and ensure their safety. They do not expect to become a never event death statistic as the result of misidentified blood for a transfusion,” stated Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas.
This case, which happened in Brooklyn, but could just as easily happen in any other hospital across the U.S., involved an 84-year-old woman who needed a blood transfusion. For some reason, the hospital blood lab did not accurately identify her blood type. The result for the patient was death. These kinds of hospital errors have an occurrence rate of approximately one in every 14,000 transfusions. Despite the fact the error rate appears to be low, the one in 14,000 who does receive mismatched blood may face fatal complications and/or death.
“This case is strange in that there are normally two medical staff on hand when a blood transfusion is started. Both are to carefully monitor the process for at least 20 minutes, or longer, to ensure there are no adverse reactions. One has to question what happened in this instance. How, if the woman was monitored, did she suffer a fatal adverse reaction?” Smith pointed out.
What transpired in this case was an egregious hospital error, which the family may wish to seek redress for in the form of a wrongful death, medical malpractice lawsuit. Even though the hospital extended their condolences and the blood lab was ordered to send patient’s blood to another facility for testing, the real issue is how the mistake occurred in the first place.When there is negligence involved in a hospital error case, the plaintiff, or the representative of their estate, has more than a fair chance of being successful in filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
“Most wrongful death suits are not about money, but about sending a message to the hospital and to others in a similar situation. That message would be that the hospital needs to ensure their blood lab is reliable, follows all designated safety procedures, double checks its work and that nursing staff follow a stated blood transfusion protocol that protects a patient in the event of a blood mismatch issue,” added Smith.
For those that suspect they have been the victim of a hospital error, seek to speak with an experienced injury lawyer to find out how to file a lawsuit and what to expect in terms of possible results.
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