Monday, October 18, 2004

Readers beware

Two articles added today to TraQ's International News section present different "takes" on the same session held at a major transfusion medicine conference in Australia.The first article from The Age is titled Safety call on hospital blood use and begins, "Doctors yesterday called for identity wristbands for all blood transfusion patients to protect against the potentially fatal consequences of receiving the wrong blood type." The second article from the Sydney Morning Herald (Hospitals ignoring blood label rules) begins, "Blood transfusion protocols are being shunned in some hospitals, posing a potentially fatal threat to patient health, a conference has heard."

From what was reported in the articles, Dr. Lorna Wilkinson discussed the UK SHOT scheme. Chris Hogan (an Australian hematologist) and Neil Boyce (of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service) spoke on efforts in Australia to improve processes and develop a reporting scheme such as SHOT. All speakers noted the rare but potentially fatal consequences of identification errors.

From my perspective, The Age news report presents a more balanced view than the Sydney Morning Herald report does. The latter's headline (Hospitals ignoring blood label rules) sets the tone for the article and is misleading.

* Joint Annual Meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion, Hematology Society of Australia, and the Australian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (17-24 October, Melbourne)

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