Sarasota Bradenton Contaminated Blood & Platelet Transfusion Attorney
About two million people receive life-saving platelet transfusions every year, and more than twice that many receive transfusions of whole blood. Although blood donation centers and hospitals take steps to ensure a safe blood supply, sometimes simple yet important safety measures are overlooked, resulting in hundreds of adverse reactions and preventable deaths each year due to contaminated blood. The actual number of adverse reactions and deaths are thought to be much higher than is reported. At The Nurse Attorney, P.A., our medically and legally-trained lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to evaluate a blood or platelet transfusion case and pursue justice on behalf of the individuals and families harmed by these failures to protect patient safety. Contact our Bradenton & Sarasota contaminated blood & platelet transfusion attorneys today.
Facts about platelet transfusions
Whole blood is comprised mainly of red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Platelets are the sticky, disc-shaped components of blood that enable blood to stick together or clot and are therefore essential to prevent excessive bleeding. Platelet transfusions are a necessary part of many types of surgeries and medical procedures, including acute trauma care, cancer treatment, open-heart surgery, burns and wound care, and bone marrow transplants.
Donated platelets represent the number one risk of infection in the U.S. blood supply. Whole blood donations are refrigerated until they are needed, allowing them to stay fresh and sterile for a longer period of time. Platelets, however, lose their clotting ability if they are refrigerated, so they must be kept at room temperature. Platelets can be stored at room temperature for up to five days before they are deemed unsafe to use, but bacteria can be present and growing in platelet donations long before then. For instance, if the donor had a low-grade infection at the time of donation, then bacteria will likely be present in the donation. Also, if the skin was not properly cleaned before injecting the needle, surface bacteria is likely to be drawn into the donated sample. These bacteria will continue to grow and multiply in the sample, creating the likelihood that blood poisoning (sepsis) will develop in the patient receiving the donated platelets.
Hospitals need to test for platelet contamination
Standard tests performed by blood banks miss the majority of contaminated platelets. The blood bank may culture and test for the presence of bacteria within 24 to 48 hours after the donation, but levels may be too low for detection that early. A safer and more reliable check is for the hospital or blood bank to test the platelets for bacterial contamination just prior to transfusion. The technology to perform this check is not new; in fact, the FDA approved a rapid test decades ago. Unfortunately, adding this test adds costs to the hospital’s budget, and some hospitals and blood banks choose to forego this potentially life-saving measure in order to improve their financial bottom line.
Other serious blood transfusion risks include the possibility of transmission of the HIV or Hepatitis C virus, but the risk of infection and illness from bacteria-contaminated platelets is actually much higher.
You Deserve to Have Your Transfusion Claim Evaluated by Experienced Medical & Legal Professionals
At The Nurse Attorney, P.A., we have successfully pursued litigation against hospitals and blood banks for the tragic consequences which can result from a contaminated blood or platelet transfusion. If you believe that you or a family member may have been harmed by an unsafe blood or platelet transfusion at any facility in Florida, please contact us at our offices in Bradenton/Sarasota or Orlando for a no-cost consultation.