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Informed consent for blood transfusion: what do medicine residents tell? What do patients understand?
Blood transfusion is a common intervention in the hospital setting, and its benefits may not be clear
but it has associated risks. Despite this, transfusion consent may not be obtained satisfactorily. We
assessed transfusion consent effectiveness by comparing information given by residents with information
understood by patients who receive transfusions. Medicine department residents who obtained
consent were surveyed via telephone in conjunction with bedside surveys of adult inpatients who
received transfusions. A total of 43 patient and 34 resident surveys were completed. Deficiencies in the
transfusion consent process were noted. Discussed transfusion benefits (such as wound healing) were
not always true benefits whereas some important risks (such as transfusion-related acute lung injury)
were infrequently conferred. Risks were more often reported as "not discussed" than benefits. Only a
few participants were aware of the hospital's Transfusion Health Guide, which provides information on
transfusion benefits, risks, and alternatives.
Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 Oct;138(4):559-65.