A medical malpractice/wrongful death/survival action lawsuit was filed in the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois on July 23, 2015, alleging that the defendant hospital’s medical staff transfused a patient with the wrong type of blood that led to the woman’s death.
The administrator of the woman’s estate alleges in her medical malpractice complaint that on January 13, 2007, the woman was transfused (given) Type A blood despite the fact that the woman had Type B blood. As a result, the woman died the same day, leaving behind two adult children. The plaintiff alleges that the woman suffered conscious pain and suffering before her death as a result of receiving the wrong blood type, which is the basis of the survival action.
The plaintiff alleges that the medical negligence included the failure to properly communicate between the blood bank and the nursing staff at the hospital, the failure to follow proper protocols and procedures that would have avoided the improper blood transfusion, the hospital’s failure to provide safeguards that would have prevented clerical errors that led to the woman’s fatal injuries, and negligently transfusing the woman with the wrong type of blood.
The medical malpractice lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.
Blood Type And Cross Match
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):
If incompatible blood is given in a transfusion, the donor cells are treated as if they were foreign invaders, and the patient’s immune system attacks them accordingly. Not only is the blood transfusion rendered useless, but a potentially massive activation of the immune system and clotting system can cause shock, kidney failure, circulatory collapse, and death.
To avoid a transfusion reaction, donated blood must be compatible with the blood of the patient who is receiving the transfusion. More specifically, the donated RBCs must lack the same ABO and Rh D antigens that the patient’s RBCs lack. For example, a patient with blood group A can receive blood from a donor with blood group A (which lacks the B antigen) or blood group O (which lacks all ABO blood group antigens). However, they cannot receive blood from a donor with blood group B or AB (which both have the B antigen).
Before a blood transfusion, two blood tests known as a “type and cross match” are done. First, the recipient’s blood type is determined, i.e., their ABO type and Rh D status. In theory, once the recipient’s blood type is known, a transfusion of compatible blood can be given. However, in practice, donor blood may still be incompatible because it contains other antigens that are not routinely typed but may still cause a problem if the recipient’s serum contains antibodies that will target them. Therefore, a “cross match” is done to ensure that the donor RBCs actually do match against the recipient’s serum.
To perform a cross match, a small amount of the recipient’s serum is mixed with a small amount of the donor RBCs. The mixture is then examined under a microscope. If the proposed transfusion is incompatible, the donor RBCs are agglutinated by antibodies in the recipient’s serum.
If you or a loved one received the wrong blood type during a transfusion and suffered harm, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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