Faulty blood storage – Court sees red

  • Posted on: October 14, 2021

This is story of a hospital that erred in one of the most basic protocol for blood storage and management. Unfortunately, as a result of this lapse the patient lost her life.

The doctors had performed cholecystectomy and had requisitioned two units of blood. One unit was used during surgery and the other was handed over to hospital for the purpose of storage. Few days later, the second unit was transfused and almost immediately the patient experienced severe complications – jaundice, breathlessness and fall in blood pressure.

She was rushed to a higher centre but soon succumbed to post-cholecystectomy jaundice with shock, sepsis due to blood transfusion reaction.

This case reached the Consumer Commission who seemed to be displeased with the hospital management, as it stated the following:

“The hospital failed to prove where and how the second unit of blood was stored for seven days before it was transfused. The blood unit should have been stored at 40C in a specialized refrigerator fitted with alarm facility. It was hospital’s duty to send the unused blood unit back to the blood bank for proper storage and call for it whenever it was needed. If the blood is not stored properly it may deteriorate by haemolysis and / or get contaminated. If it was stored in the freezer, haemolysis of blood will occur and transfusion of such blood evokes fatal transfusion reactions”.

The hospital was obviously held negligent and ordered to pay compensation to patient’s family.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 18th June, 2021.