Transfer of blood products in coolers from the emergency room to the operating room
A Medical Technologist in North Carolina reports that at her hospital they currently issue emergency release blood in a cooler that is stored in the emergency department. The blood product units are 'issued' to "Code trauma cooler" in their computer system. They recently had an occurence where a patient was transported from the emergency department to the operating room with the cooler of emergency released blood. She wonders if such a transfer is covered under a "standard", and what is the experience of others? Do other institutions experience a similar situation, and if so, how do they manage the blood products so that they are not misdirected or wasted, or administered to the wrong person?
The following comments have been submitted in response.
ADDENDA June 12, 2009
- A hospital in Arizona reports that they dispense RBCs to the trauma center in coolers. The RBC units are allocated to the trauma patient in their computer. The cooler may be transported with the patient to diagnostic imaging and/or the OR. The cooler is kept with the patient at all times. When the patient is transferred to the PICU the cooler is returned to their blood bank. So far they report no problems with this process.
July 1, 2009
- A transfusion service supervisor at a hospital in Colorado reports that her facility issues 'trauma units' in a cooler and their policy is written to include that the units can be transferred with the patient to OR, Interventional Radiology or ICU at the discretion of the surgeon/physician. Their medical technologists are trained to monitor where the coolers are and to ask if the coolers will still be needed after 4 hours.
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