VA Hospital Gave Man Wrong Blood Type

PITTSBURGH, April 28 (UPI) — A Navy veteran died after being transfused with plasma of the wrong blood type at a Pittsburgh-area veterans hospital, federal regulators say.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review obtained the report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through the Freedom of Information Act. The report said investigators did not believe the bungled transfusion was directly responsible for Kenneth Guthrie’s death in 2007, suggesting he was suffering from liver and kidney failure that was far advanced.

Guthrie’s parents, Robert and Joann Guthrie of Morgantown, W.Va., said they were never told about the mistake, learning of it only from the Tribune-Review.

“He’s gone now, and we can’t get him back, but I’m mad as hell,” said Robert Guthrie, who served in the Navy in World War II. “But at least now we know what happened.”

Guthrie was transferred to the VA Medical Center in Oakland, Pa., from Clarksburg, W.Va., June 14, 2007. He died two days later, 16 hours after being transfused with the wrong blood.

The FDA said Guthrie’s blood sample was apparently switched accidentally with another patient’s and a confirmation test was not done. The hospital said it is introducing an automated system of bar codes that should eliminate that kind of mistake.

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