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September 19, 1980

Fatalities From Blood Transfusion

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, UCLA, and the Harbor General Hospital Campus, Torrance, Calif.

JAMA. 1980;244(12):1333-1335. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310120021015

From April 3, 1976, to Dec 31, 1979, one hundred thirteen fatalities were reported to the Food and Drug Administration as a sequela of the transfusion of blood or blood products. Thirty-three fatalities were due to posttransfusion hepatitis, and three involved plasmapheresis or leukopheresis donors. The remaining 77 cases were of three categories: 47 cases (61%) were due to "clerical errors" such as drawing the wrong blood specimen or giving the wrong unit of blood to the patient; eight cases consisted of genuine errors that occurred in the laboratory; and 22 cases were due to miscellaneous problems, most of which were unpreventable.

(JAMA 244:1333-1335, 1980)