Blood alert for hospital chiefs
In 12 cases, patients died and in a further 39 suffered serious injury requiring treatment in intensive care or dialysis for kidney failure.
The findings are contained in the first annual report by the Serious Hazards of Transfusion group (Shot) set up by professional groups independently of the National Blood Service to monitor the safety of blood transfusion.
About 3 million blood transfusions are carried out each year, the vast majority without problems, but when problems do occur they tend to follow a pattern, the Shot committee said. The commonest error, accounting for almost half the cases, was a mix-up in which blood intended for one patient was given to another. Blood for transfusions has to be carefully matched to avoid triggering a serious reaction.
There have been a series of scares about the safety of blood for transfusion in the UK involving fears about possible contamination and transmission of viruses including HIV and hepatitis. The results of the Shot study revealed three cases of bacterial contamination - one because the donor's arm had not been properly cleaned - and five in which an infection was transmitted; hepatitis A, B and C, HIV and malaria.
Three of the infections, including that with HIV, occurred as a result of donations during the "window" period - after the donor had been infected but before it showed up in routine tests.
Dr Lorna Williamson, chair of the Shot working group, said new tests were being developed to reduce the window period during which infections were undetectable. "We are dealing with very rare events but it is important that hospitals are still vigilant," she said.
Bosses of collapsed banks should be sent to jail, banking standards commission tells George Osborne
Feat of engineering: Incredible photographs show construction beneath New York's Second Avenue
Brazil kicks off: World Cup excess draws hundreds of thousands to street protests
World news in pictures
Google challenges US surveillance gagging order
- 1 Diary of Second World War German teenager reveals young lives untroubled by Nazi Holocaust in wartime Berlin
- 2 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 3 Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed
- 4 Viral video straps colt .45 handgun to a home-use drone
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
Negotiable Depending on Experience: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green R...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
Negotiable: Progressive Recruitment: Dear Sumadhab, A growing engineering comp...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Ilford: We are currently recruiting for a Year ...