Frischman & Rizza

The Grounds for Fighting Against Malpractice in Blood Transfusion

Over 6 million Americans donate blood every year, with over 13.6 million units of red blood cells and whole blood collected. That makes blood transfusion a standard procedure in medical facilities around Pittsburg, PA, and across the US. The process is simple, and there are no issues in many cases. However, this lifesaving procedure can cause serious harm when a medical practitioner makes a mistake.

When a blood transfusion results in medical complications, you need an attorney that fully understands blood transfusion errors and the grounds to fight against malpractice. That might make you eligible for compensation to help you treat complications resulting from malpractice in your blood transfusion process.

Blood Transfusion Injuries

Medical malpractices in blood transfusion can occur due to the high-stress circumstances in the operating room, ER, and ICU, where blood components are mostly needed. These mistakes might lead to different injuries. If the donated blood doesn’t match your blood, it activates your body’s immune system. As a result, your body attacks the new blood cells.

Improper blood transfusions can also lead to other serious complications. That’s why patients must be closely monitored after a blood transfusion. Speed is also required in addressing blood transfusion complications due to the life-threatening nature of transfusion reactions.

Complications of Improper Blood Transfusions

Common complications that may occur after platelet, plasma, or red blood cell transfusion include:

Allergic reactions

You might get an allergic reaction after a blood transfusion, even when you receive the right blood type. You might experience itching, shortness of breath, and hives in such a case.

This blood transfusion injury is treatable using antihistamines like other allergic reactions. However, you should consult a professional medical practitioner if the allergic reaction becomes serious.


Many people develop a fever after a blood transfusion. The fever isn’t severe as it results from your body’s response to the foreign white blood cells from the donated blood. However, fever can also indicate severe reactions, especially if you’re experiencing chest pain or nausea.

Acute immune hemolytic reaction

A hemolytic transfusion reaction is severe but extremely rare. The reaction occurs when your immune system fights the donated red blood cells. This attack triggers the release of a chemical compound that may cause kidney disease.

An acute immune hemolytic reaction occurs when the transfused red blood cells don’t match properly with your blood type. Symptoms include fever, nausea, dark urine, chest or lower back pain, and chills.

Blood-borne infections

Blood banks must test donated blood components for potential parasites, bacteria, and viruses. However, some of these contaminants still occasionally infect patients after transfusion.

While the risk of getting a virus and other blood-borne infections is relatively low, blood transfusions can lead to several health complications like:

  • HIV – Every blood bank in America must thoroughly test the donor blood for HIV. The odds of a transfusion patient being infected from the process are 1 in 2 million.
  • Hepatitis B & C – The odds of getting hepatitis B from a transfusion is 1 in 300,000, while the risk of contracting hepatitis c is about 1 in 1.5 million.
  • West Nile Virus – the risk of contracting West Nile virus from transfused blood is about 1 in 350,000.

Fighting Against Blood Transfusion Malpractice

While blood transfusions save millions of lives every year, the consequences can be catastrophic and can even lead to death when done incorrectly. If you or your loved one is suffering from a blood transfusion injury in the Pittsburg, PA area, contact Frischman & Rizza medical malpractice attorneys to get legal help.

We understand that transfusion errors may occur in different ways. For example, infected blood used in a transfusion can lead to HIV, hepatitis B & C, Zika virus, parasites, and bacterial infections.

Blood banks properly screen the donated blood, reducing patients’ chances of contracting these diseases. However, some conditions like sickle cell disease are hard to control, even with adequate screening.

While infections are rare, the most common blood transfusion errors occur when a patient doesn’t get the correct blood type or when blood samples are mislabeled with the wrong patient name or blood type.

Too much blood has similar consequences to getting the incorrect blood type in your body. Mistakes might also occur where the doctor gives you more blood when you don’t need a blood transfusion. You might also have a medical negligence case if the blood isn’t stored at the proper temperatures or mistakes are made during a blood transfusion.

What Compensation is Payable?

While each case is different, the amount of compensation you’ll get depends on the amount of pain and suffering caused by the negligence. You might also get compensated for amenity loss and financial losses or costs incurred.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Frischman & Rizza will assess your claim and ensure you fully understand the impact of negligent transfusion on your life. When calculating a reasonable amount for the general damages, we will examine your medical report, including your injuries, doctor’s prognosis, and recommended treatment plans.

You can also claim compensation for special damages if the transfusion mistake left you with more expenses. That includes treatment and prescription costs, lost wages, and buying special equipment.

Do I Have Grounds to Fight Against Transfusion Errors?

You need to prove these two points to make a legal claim for errors committed during blood transfusions:

Breach of duty

Whether a doctor transfuses your blood or donor blood, you must prove that your care was below a reasonable standard expected from a licensed health professional. Failure by a blood bank to adhere to blood safety basics is sufficient grounds for making a legal claim.

Direct breach of care

You must also demonstrate that your injury results from a breach of care and not underlying medical conditions. That means proving the injury was avoidable and resulted from negligence.

If you’re not sure what happened to you is grounds for fighting against transfusion errors, contact Frischman & Rizza medical malpractice attorneys today.

Victim of blood transfusion error in Pittsburgh? Contact our medical malpractice attorney.

Frischman & Rizza are leading medical malpractice attorneys and can help you get compensation for damages resulting from negligent blood transfusions. Call (412) 291-3977 for a free initial consultation! Our experienced medical negligence specialists are approachable and are always happy to advise you.


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