Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is a blood transfusion consultation needed every time?"
I am in need of a blood transfusion, but they tell me that first I need a consultation. They know I need a transfusion too. Why do I need a consultation?
Quite honestly, a lot of the pre-transfusion protocol is based on the clinic's policy. Therefore, each clinic has a variety of procedures and regulations by which they require a consultation prior. In most clinics, a consultation is not required prior to all transfusions, but would be required if it is the first in a while or first for a specific indication. The reason we do consultations prior to a blood transfusion is two fold. First, to assess if you really need the transfusion. There are certain benefits to a transfusion, but also risks. Some disease respond to a transfusion, and some don't. It requires a thorough understanding of what is going on (and this needs to be documented well which sometimes necessitates a formal consult despite the fact that everyone knows you will need it). The second reason that a consult is need is that your consent is needed and forms need to be signed. There needs to be a discussion of risks and benefits and this needs to be done in advance. You should be aware of the risks and make an informed decision. For people who needed repeated transfusions, then it is possible you do not need a consult before each as the two above criteria would have been already met. Talk to your doctor. He or she can clarify there thoughts and procedures.
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