Phlebotomy: Blood Bank Specimens

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Posted on 21st April 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Blood bank specimens are one of the most commonly encountered special test procedures.  Due to the vast number of people who could be affected by a single unhealthy blood donor, blood bank specimens are highly scrutinized in order to determine which blood products can be safely transfused into a patient.  There are special protocols for phlebotomist technicians in place to ensure that only safe specimens are collected and transfused.

Blood bank specimens must be strictly labeled with patient identification and specimen labeling procedures.  If a specimen is ever mislabeled, incompletely or inaccurately labeled, or even unlabeled, it will not be accepted for testing.  Any errors in the collection or labeling process will cause the specimen to be forfeited and require a new specimen to be collected.  This could cause a delay in patient treatment and should be avoided.  Strict collection protocols are in place to reduce the need for recollection.  Undetected errors could possibly cause a fatal transfusion reaction.  There is specific information that should be labeled on all blood bank specimens.  The following is a list of common requirements.

-The patient’s full name and middle initial.

-The patient’s hospital identification number or social security number for outpatients.

-The patient’s date of birth

-The date and time of collection

-The phlebotomist’s initials

-The room number of the patient.

There are special identification systems that are used to confirm the patient’s identity against a blood specimen.  A special identification bracelet may be attached to the patient’s wrist.  The typenex Blood Recipient Identification Band is one example of the type of identification band that might be used.  Generally the band system allows for a unique ID number to be associated with the patient.  This number is used to identify the specimen in the crossmatch process or eventually attached to blood products that might be used for transfusion.

The electronic blood bank ID system is a portable bedside bar code scanning system that creates an electronic verification system and tracing of blood transfusions.  A bar code is created for the patient and is attached to the patient’s wrist.  The bar code is also attached to all of the patient’s blood specimens.  The patient’s wristband with the bar code and the unit of blood with the bar code are scanned and must be electronically verified before a transfusion of the blood unit can begin.

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