Hello SixofNine :o)
There are a couple of threads running on this - one started in February and another in March - but I only had limited time and could not find them when I glanced down the sections!
The following is a copy of the original article by Judith Whelan in the Sydney Morning Herald on 16th June, 2001 for which a link was posted in the first thread:
Doctors give `dangerous' transfusions
Doctors continued giving blood transfusions to patients after being told they did not need the treatment and that it could kill them, an expert on hospital safety has revealed.
Dr Ross Wilson, head of the NSW Council for Quality in Health Care, said the cases showed it was not enough to merely tell medical staff how they needed to change their practices. ``It's a bit like getting a ticket from a speed camera it won't stop you from going out and speeding again," he said.
Last year, a team directed by Dr Wilson carried out an audit of blood use in 10 NSW hospitals. It found that one in three transfusions were being administered when, under NSW Health guidelines, they should not have been.
The guidelines call for a blood transfusion if the patient's haemoglobin level is seven or below. One should not be given if the level is 10 or above. (A healthy male's haemoglobin level is about 14 to 16, a woman's 12 to 15.) ``In the middle is a grey area where clinical judgment should be used," Dr Wilson said. Giving an unnecessary transfusion could kill a patient by inducing heart failure, he said. It could also transmit viruses, or there was a risk of the donor blood being incompatible with the recipient's.
Dr Wilson suggested that other checks and balances be introduced into the hospital system, such as doctors being asked to fill out forms that reinforce transfusion guidelines or double-check their requests for transfusions in computerised links to the blood supply service.
Such changes would be likely to be opposed by doctors, on the grounds that they would interfere with their ability to make clinical judgments about their patients.
The audit results were made public in January, and the researchers told the doctors of the results. But when they took another audit a month later, the results were the same; the doctors had not changed their practices. ``I have no reason to expect they'd be any different now," Dr Wilson said. Doctors were not deliberately endangering patients' lives, he said. ``There are some practitioners who think increasing the haemoglobin level of patients increases the safety of patient care."
He said the study showed that ``new change strategies" had to be introduced to decrease the risk of mistakes being made. For instance, the best-practice guidelines could be included on the form doctors filled out to request a blood transfusion, or computer systems could be linked to the blood bank so that guidelines could be cross-checked with the transfusion request.
Dr Wilson said: ``Ultimately, and this is the method I prefer, patients would be informed about it so they could question their physician directly." That might include fact sheets being given to them or their families, he said.
Six years ago Dr Wilson co-authored the study Quality in Australian Health Care, which found that about 18,000 people a year died as a result of complications they developed directly as a result of the medical treatment they received.
The following is a copy of the first posting made to the board highlighting the way the article had been *selectively edited* and also showing how the concluding sentence of the the SMH article was moved within the body of the text by the organisation, thus giving a misleading impression to readers:
Misleading insertion.In the 2-22-02 Awake magazine with the cover title “How Safe are you at Work?” has an interesting article under Watching the world.Blood Transfusion Dangers
“One in three transfusions were being administered when, under [New South Wales] Health guidelines, they should not have been,” reports Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. “The guidelines call for a blood transfusion if the patient’s haemoglobin level is seven or below.” Dr. Ross Wilson, who conducted the study on blood use, explained that “giving an unnecessary transfusion could kill a patient by inducing heart failure.”
This next sentence is the one which has been unnecessarily moved out of context to give an impression that the large number of deaths were blood related (which is not at all the case!) <According to a study that Dr. Wilson conducted six years earlier, “about 18,000 [Australians] a year died as a result of complications they developed directly as a result of the medical treatment they received.” >
Dr. Wilson recommends that doctors be reminded of the blood transfusion health guidelines each time they request a transfusion and also that patients be informed about the guidelines so they can question their physician directly.
The Awake article has been further *selectively edited* and has appeared on the net with quotation marks to indicate that the Awake article is in fact a direct quotation from the SMH (which it is not) and it has then been used as a basis for the following erroneous assumptions:
"As previously mentioned on these boards the above would confirm that statistically more people die as a direct result of receiving blood transfusions than from refusing them. These deaths could have been prevented by applying the principles found in the Bible.
It is very rare for anyone to die as a result of refusal of blood.
Actually statistically more people die as a direct result of blood transfusion complications and I have on several occasions posted information to this effect."
Hope that helps :o) Maybe someone has the links to the other 2 threads running on this - maybe....