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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.