Where can patient misidentification occur?

The stages where identification errors may occur include:

  • drawing the patient's pretransfusion specimen

  • labelling the patient's blood specimen,1which must be done in the patient's presence

  • performing pretransfusion testing in the transfusion service

  • issuing donor blood from the transfusion service

  • identifying patient and donor unit¬† immediately prior to transfusion

Most identification errors occur when collecting the patient's sample and when identifying the patient/donor unit prior to transfusion.

Lumadue and coworkers (see Further Reading) reported that specimens that failed to meet the criteria for specimen acceptance at their institution were 40 times more likely to have a blood grouping discrepancy when compared with historic or subsequent patient data.