Blood Administration Policy

One area of the hospital that has continued to be affected is increased rates of error in blood administrations. This problem involves the inaccurate matching of patients with the appropriate blood units leading to adverse conditions in patients. Administering blood to the wrong patient can lead to an acute hemolytic transfusion reaction, which is the most common cause of blood transfusion-associated mortality and morbidity. Errors can happen anywhere along the transfusion chain.

One area that has received much attention as leading is nurse poor knowledge of blood transfusion. Saillour-Glenisson (2002), who investigated the nurse’s poor understanding of blood transfusion safety procedure, noted that poor knowledge of the procedure was evident from delayed screening to recognition of abnormal reaction inpatient. In a study by Devi and Lekshmi (2015) involving 30 staff nurses and 30 nursing students, it was found that the majority of the staff nurses and moderate knowledge of transfusion. They also noted that nurses lack knowledge sufficient knowledge on transfusion and required in-service training is errors were to be avoided. The errors arise even when nurses are afforded a computer for blood scanning. This points to nurses’ poor knowledge as responsible for the trend.

The history of error in blood administration can be traced to the time the technique was invented. Poor scientific knowledge and lack of evidence on procedures around blood transfusion were responsible for the errors. Between 1976 and 1985, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported 158 deaths, which translated to 1 death per 250,000 red blood cell transfusions. Today, the problem continues to persist in the American healthcare system. The FDA reported that there was an average of 414 transfusion errors in the US. This translates to one per 38,000 transfusions. In 2017, there were 37 deaths out of the 17 million blood transfusions (Najafpour, 2017). Though a drop compared the 1970s, advanced technologies in blood transfusion make these figures unwarranted. It thus follows that eliminating transfusion errors should be a priority.  

Several groups are affected by blood transfusion errors. Najafpour (2017), who conducted a systematic review on blood transfusion errors, noted that 3.7 percent of patients are vulnerable to adverse events during a hospital stay that might necessitate a blood transfusion. Errors arising from blood transfusion can affect anyone in need of the service. Some of the instances where a patient receives blood transfusion include surgical procedures to replace blood lost during surgery, car crash and natural disaster victims, and persons who have an illness that causes anemia such as kidney disease and leukemia. 



Devi, C. S., & Lakshmi, R. K. (2015). Assess the Knowledge Regarding Jejunostomy Feeding Among Staff Nurses and Nursing Students in NMCH, Nellore. Journal of Medical Science And clinical Research.

Hisenbaugh, M. (2019, June 26). No one should die from a blood transfusion. So why did it happen at the nation’s top cancer hospital? NBC News.

Najafpour, Z., Hasoumi, M., Behzadi, F., Mohamadi, E., Jafary, M., & Saeedi, M. (2017). Preventing blood transfusion failures: FMEA, an effective assessment method. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1).

Saillour-Glenisson, F. (2002). Factors associated with nurses’ poor knowledge and practice of transfusion safety procedures in Aquitaine, France. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 14(1), 25-32.