Review of blood transfusion error reveals scope of problems at Baylor St. Luke’s

Employees at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston made 122 mistakes in the labeling of blood over a four-month period, according to a federal review prompted by the December death of a 75-year-old woman who received the wrong blood type and died after suffering repeated bouts of cardiac arrest.

The hospital has been under scrutiny since an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica published in May 2018 highlighted the poor performance of its heart transplant center, which eventually was cut off from Medicare funding.

Doug Lawson, PhD, who was appointed president of Baylor St. Luke’s on Jan. 14, posted an open letter on the hospital’s website Feb. 26 sharing CMS’s review into the blood transfusion error that caused the woman’s death, along with the hospital’s plans to correct its problems. He called the review “deeply disappointing” and said the reviewers found “significant deficiencies that led to this incident.”

The series of errors includes the double-labeling of blood, lab technicians accepting double-labeled blood and poor nursing care.

Read more from the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica below: