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, 168 (1), 3-13

Wrong Blood in Tube - Potential for Serious Outcomes: Can It Be Prevented?


Wrong Blood in Tube - Potential for Serious Outcomes: Can It Be Prevented?

Paula H B Bolton-Maggs et al. Br J Haematol.


'Wrong blood in tube' (WBIT) errors, where the blood in the tube is not that of the patient identified on the label, may lead to catastrophic outcomes, such as death from ABO-incompatible red cell transfusion. Transfusion is a multistep, multidisciplinary process in which the human error rate has remained unchanged despite multiple interventions (education, training, competency testing and guidelines). The most effective interventions are probably the introduction of end-to-end electronic systems and a group-check sample for patients about to receive their first transfusion, but neither of these eradicates all errors. Further longer term studies are required with assessment before and after introduction of the intervention. Although most focus has been on WBIT in relation to blood transfusion, all pathology samples should be identified and linked to the correct patient with the same degree of care. Human factors education and training could help to increase awareness of human vulnerability to error, particularly in the medical setting where there are many risk factors.

Keywords: blood transfusion; human factors; sampling error; wrong blood in tube.

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