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Blood authority investigates faulty blood bags

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.6998.145 (Published 15 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:145

The National Blood Authority (NBA) is investigating the events which led to 7000 units of blood being destroyed, dozens of operations being cancelled, and one patient developing septicaemia. The case has led to accusations that the authority sought to cut costs by shifting from its regular supplier, Baxter of America, to the Australian company Tuta. Several Tuta bags have been found to suffer from faulty heat seals, allowing the possibility of bacterial infection.

The NBA's embarrassment is compounded by the fact that Stephen Legg, who developed septicaemia during a routine back operation at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon, was given a transfusion from a Tuta bag days after the problem became widely known. Ian Keeber, spokesman for the hospital, said that the regional blood transfusion centre in Oxford had told the hospital that the bags would not necessarily have to be thrown away.

“The first notice we had was on 29 June,” Mr Keeber said. “We …

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