CROOK LAW
                                            Unsafe Blood



  Blood and blood products can be life saving substances but they also can be the cause of serious injuries and death if improperly provided. Before an individual is allowed to donate blood and before that blood can be transfused to a recipient, blood donor centers are required to ask questions of the potential donor as well as test the blood collected or blood product. If the questions posed to the donor are incomplete and/or if the testing of the blood is performed improperly, the blood can be a source for the blood recipient to develop HIV (AIDS), hepatitis B, hepatitis C, malaria, syphilis, etc.  

   As part of the attempt to insure the safety of blood, the FDA and various blood transfusion organizations require that the potential donor be asked a number of questions to determine if that person is a suitable donor. Questions asked of the donor are whether that donor has ever used intravenous drugs, received clotting factor concentrates, has tested positive for HIV (AIDS) virus, recently returned from a malaria endemic area, etc. On some occasions, questioning of the donor is performed improperly or incompletely and answers which would ordinarily prevent the person from donating blood are not obtained. 

   Blood is collected in an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting. Once the whole blood is collected, there are laboratory tests performed on the blood to make sure it is safe for infusion into blood recipients. Very often the whole blood is broken down into various components including red blood cells (cells which carry oxygen), platelets (cells used to control bleeding), fresh frozen plasma (used to control bleeding due to low levels of clotting factors), cryoprecipateted AHF (made from fresh frozen plasma containing only a few specific clotting factors), granulocytes (white blood cells which fight infections), albumin, immune globulin, specific immune globulins, and clotting factor concentrates.

   Once the blood is collected, the blood is tested for the ABO group (blood group) and Rh type (positive or negative). The blood is also tested for antibodies to red blood cells which may interact with the red blood cells of the donor or recipient and cause a transfusion reaction. The blood is screened for evidence of donor infection with the hepatitis B and C viruses, human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 and HIV-2), human T-lymphotropic viruses, (HTLV-I and HTLV-II ), syphilis, and WNV (West Nile virus). Tests for detection of hepatitis C and HIV-I, using RNA analysis, are also used as a screening tool. If the tests that are positive for either hepatitis C, B, HTLV or HIV, confirmatory tests are performed to rule out a false positive. If the above testing is performed adequately in a controlled environment using appropriate laboratory techniques and the tests are negative, the chances of a blood recipient developing any of the diseases for which the testing is done is very small. However, in some cases, the laboratory testing and donor screening is performed in a manner not in accordance with the requirements of the various blood transfusion services and the
Food and Drug Administration. When that occurs, blood recipients may develop or suffer an adverse consequence caused by the transfusion of that contaminated blood.  For instance, in 2006 the FDA fined the American Red Cross $4.2 million for failure to meet established blood safety laws.

   Some of the adverse consequences which may occur include a hemolytic transfusion reaction in which the transfused red blood cells are destroyed by an antibody in the blood recipient’s plasma which may result in death. The blood recipient may develop Cytomegalovirus if the blood recipient is a low birth weight infant, immuno-compromised or immuno-deficient. Additionally, other blood recipients may develop hepatitis, AIDS, syphilis, etc. Many of these adverse consequences can be avoided with proper blood donor inquiry and blood laboratory testing. All blood donor and blood transfusion services have strict requirements in regards to blood donor inquiry, testing requirements, sterility requirements and transfusion of the blood and blood products.      

   If you have received blood or blood components within the past two years and have suffered an adverse consequence which your physician said was associated with the transfusion or you believe was associated with the transfusion, you may have a cause of action to recover damages as a result of the negligence of the blood collecting or transfusion facility. I handle cases involving the recipients of blood transfusions who have suffered adverse consequences. 

                                        CROOK LAW


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                 (205) 879-2490 or Email Me
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