Safety with blood collection practices made headlines last year when a fine of $9.6 million was imposed on the American Red Cross, the biggest supplier of donated blood in the U.S. Federal inspectors found the organization guilty of hundreds of blood safety violations in nearly half of its blood collection centers across the nation. The lapses ranged from understaffing, inadequate staff training, ineffective screening of donors and poor management of donor lists, to failure to notify health departments about donated blood that was found to have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis C, and other dangerous viruses.
Drawing blood from patients’ veins using a needle and syringe is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in hospitals and clinics. Simple as it may seem, there are many risks associated with the procedure. Adherence to specimen collection good practices is paramount. Here are some important guidelines:
- The patient’s identity should be confirmed and tally with the fully completed request form
- It should be ensured that the patient is fully prepared
- Specimen collection protocols should be followed
- Every specimen should be considered as potentially infectious
- Samples labeling guidelines should be adhered to
- Specimens for tests that are time-specific, should be sent to the laboratory at the earliest after collection; less time-critical specimens should be stored as instructed by the laboratory
- Specimen collection material should be safely disposed of; all necessary safety steps should be followed if spillages occur.
Safe blood collection depends on the use of quality blood collection instruments and accessories. Greiner’s Winged Safety Blood Collection Sets with Luer Adapter are a popular option. They ensure user safety as needle protection is activated when the needle is removed from the vein. Greiner Bio One also offers blood collection accessories such as the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliant blood culture holders, needle blood transfer units, and disposable tourniquets.