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Can I Hold a Hospital Accountable for Blood Contamination?

Blood transfusions occur routinely in hospitals and are used in a variety of situations, including in treating trauma patients and to compensate for blood loss during surgery. While most blood transfusions occur without incident, some patients unfortunately receive blood that may be contaminated with bloodborne diseases. These patients are often infected with serious diseases that may or may not be curable, in addition to the added complication of their original condition which caused the initial blood transfusion. 

Other times, the blood may be of the wrong type or otherwise incompatible with the patient who is receiving it. It is also possible for blood contamination to occur through contact with contaminated medical instruments, such as scalpels and forceps, that have not been properly cleaned and sanitized. In any event, receiving a bad blood transfusion is a serious medical event that can and should give rise to a legal claim for liability. 

What Injuries Can Result from a Bad Blood Transfusion? 

Receiving contaminated blood can cause significant and permanent injuries, including: 

  • Infection with bloodborne pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis, malaria, and syphilis
  • Sepsis, which can cause permanent damage to the body 
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Major hemolytic reaction leading to organ failure 
  • Death 

Blood Transfer Negligence and Medical Malpractice

An improper blood transfusion is a serious medical event that could be considered medical malpractice, depending on the circumstances. Generally, malpractice and medical negligence occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other hospital employee does not follow an accepted standard of care observed by other doctors in their field. 

Proving a blood transfer medical malpractice case requires a patient to show (1) that a standard of care exists, (2) that the standard of care was violated, (3) that the patient was injured, and (4) that the injuries were caused by the doctor’s actions or failure to act. 

In blood transfusion medical malpractice cases, the standard of care is often easy to prove, as blood transfers are highly regulated. The FDA publishes guidelines and regulations that require hospitals to handle donor blood and blood transfusions in very specific ways, in order to avoid complications and issues. If a doctor or nurse does not follow these guidelines and regulations in any way, then you likely would have a medical negligence or medical malpractice case in Philadelphia

Here are some examples of medical negligence in blood transfer cases that have given rise to medical malpractice lawsuits: 

  • Implanting a donated organ that was not compatible with a patient’s body 
  • Transfusing blood infected with bloodborne pathogens 
  • Failing to sterilize medical equipment 
  • Using the incorrect needle size or gauge when drawing or transfusing blood 
  • Transfusing blood that was not compatible with a patient’s blood type 

When to Contact an Attorney

If you suspect that you or a family member have been the victim of a medical negligence case involving a blood transfer or blood transfusion, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to request a free consultation on your case. The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania is two years, so the clock is ticking. 

Contact our Philadelphia blood contamination lawyer today to set up an appointment. We’re ready to help.