How do I find out if I've had a blood transfusion?

Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that. Two years ago, as many of you know, 'cause I wrote about it here, I had an emergency c-section at 23 weeks of pregnancy. Obviously, I was so focused on my daughter, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my own condition. It was only in hindsight (about 6 months later) that I suddenly realized MY life had been in danger, too!

Anyway, so what? So I have no idea who my doctors were. There were half a dozen, in and out and wearing masks and things and then there were the baby’s doctors, who changed every few weeks and I hardly saw, 'cause all I saw regularly were the nurses, you know? The upshot of all this, to make a long story short, is that I don’t know who to contact to find out details about what happened. Specifically, if I received any blood during the whole thing. Sounds silly, I know, but I don’t remember, and it’s going to come up sooner or later, and I ought to know (it did yesterday, actually, when I went to the dentist; “Have you ever received a blood transfusion?” was on the patient history form.) I would imagine that I got some blood during surgery, but I don’t know.

Will the hospital have the records? Of course they will. Will they tell me? Do I ask who my doctor was, or can I get the information right from the hospital? Who do I even ask for when I call? Record keeping? Billing?

I feel so silly, not even knowing my own doctor’s name, but he wasn’t (or they weren’t) who I was seeing for prenatal care in another city. Because it was all emergency-like, it was whoever was on staff in Labor and Delivery that day, and I’m LOUSY with names even when I’m not panicked and doped up.

Call the hospital Medical Records department and ask how you can get a copy of your medical record. They will have all the records and you can request a copy. They might charge you for photocopying/etc…

Also, if you were in the hospital for a while there might be quite a lot of records. If you’re only specifically interested in whether you received blood products, in your request for records you can probably specifically ask for just those records, and not your whole file.

Yes - you can request copies of your medical records from the hospital. You might have to pay a fee for copying but 30 bucks (or whatever) is worth it for the peace of mind.

FWIW - obviously I don’t know all the details of your hospital stay but when I had my c-section, I did not have a transfusion and I don’t think they’re standard (unless needed, of course; if you hemorrhaged or whatever obviously your mileage will vary).

Oh, wow, I totally forgot I wrote this last night! Sorry to be so rude. Thank you so much for your answers. I just wanted to run it by some non-judgmental types before I call over there like a loon! :smack:

I don’t think I hemorrhaged, but I was really, really out of my mind with worry about the baby, and I didn’t pay a whit of attention to what was going on with me. I’m sure the dentist’s form was more worried about older transfusions, and of course he wore gloves anyway, but it just got me wondering about the whole thing. I love medical stuff, so it will be fun to get the whole record and read about what actually happened to me while I was busy worrying about her!

The hospital should have adequate records, and if you got blood, it should appear there and you or the insurance company would be billed for it.

But you won’t be able to order a copy of your records over the phone. They will need a signed release form – which they will probably be willing to mail to you for your signature.

Ask your doctor to get a copy of the records sent to him/her. That way it’s free.

And, despite HIPAA hysteria to the contrary, your doctor does not need your signature or even your authorization to obtain these records from another health provider. (anyone claiming that HIPAA requires a patient authorization for this sort of provider-to-provider transaction will get such a smack!!)

My hospital wouldn’t release a record to a doctor without a signed consent – at least that’s the policy. Probably, though, both your doctor and the hospital already have your signed consent on file, which normally has language to allow medical personnel to get access to your records without a separate perission every single time.

Then your hospital is in violation of several regulations and laws, if it is a Wisconsin hospital.

And I see you’re in Madison. I’ve requested, and gotten, records from UW, Meriter, and St. Mary’s in Madison without patient signatures.


Yup. People don’t get treated, le alone generate medical records here, without a signed consent. I check in patients for one of the clinics – the patients do not get in to see the practitioner without signing. You may not have to send anything, but that would be because we have an authorization on file. The consent includes permission to share records for medical reasons. More correctly, the consent includes an acknowledgement and acceptance of the terms pf our privacy policy, which allows such sharing.

We seem to be arguing somewhat different points.

I can and do get medical records on my patients sent to me from other hospitals and providers without patient signature. No patient consent is needed for me to obtain copies of their medical records from a previous provider or provider system (tho special rules come into play if the provider is a mental health professional, if the data involves treatment for drug and alcohol problems, or if the information relates to HIV).

And it matters not a whit if the patient signed a release previously or not, at my site or the other health care provider’s site. I request, they provide. Or they face big trouble. The reverse is true, for my system too, if we fail to fulfill requests for medical records by outside providers with a legitimate need for said records.

Believe me, I’ve waded hip-deep in regulations on this particular point. Provider-to-provider (for example, physician to physician) sharing of pertinent medical information is not dependent on signed release by the patient involved.

As an example of this, here’s a note in a typical patient benefit handbook from a typical health system:

Thank you for the link, though right now I can’t read it. Unfortunately it does not display according to the Windows Accessability Options for the visually handicapped.

Hopefully, this will change next week, as I am scheduled for my first cataract surgery tomorrow morning.

Boyo, it’s just a patient handbook. But it does point out that medical information will be released from provider to provider without patient consent. Which is required standard practice in the US.

Similar statements appear in most system’s patient handbooks.

Good luck with your eye procedure.

I wish you would come smack my hospital, then! We have to get signed forms, and then fax them to the other hospital and wait forever…
I live in IL, though-perhaps the law is different here.

WhyNot–no hospital gives a pt blood without a consent, either from the pt or from the family (spouse)–if you don’t recall signing one, perhaps your spouse did?

Even in an emergency, we always get a consent first. (there has been one time where we did a consent under medical neccessity-ie, the doctor (2 of them) signed the consent for an obtunded pt with no family; but in 20 years of nursing, you can see that’s really rare.

From: Wisconsin state statutes

And this from HHS itself:

Now maybe, just maybe, there’s a state out there that requires patients to sign consent forms before doctors, hospitals, or ambulances can share information for treatment purposes, but if so they’re in the extreme minority.

I learnt a new word today!

I’m pretty sure I signed something saying they COULD give me blood, if it was needed. I also signed something saying they COULD discuss my case with other providers, my insurance company and my third grade teacher, I think. I may have signed something saying they COULD sew butterfly wings on my butt and sing Prince and the Revolution songs in the operating room, for all I know. There was a lot of signing involved and very little time to do it in.

I especially liked how they kept saying, “take your time, read it over okaynowsignhere, we have to get you down to surgery NOW!” :rolleyes:

And I’ve always had to sign Patient Consent to Release Information forms, not only at the time of the request for the doctor requesting the information, but before the time of service by the doctor providing the service. It might not be legal, I’ve never tried refusing, but it’s customary, at least here. Ass-covering, I bet. Still, it makes one weep for the trees (not to mention the money spent filing, sorting and storing all that needless paperwork!)

A physician could always transfuse blood in an emergency without consent. Heck, it happens at my hospital all the time (IANAD). I work in a blood bank, and often times I have to call other hospital blood banks to find out records of transfusions and possibly other information. Patient consent of this isn’t needed because I’m doing it in order to find out very relevant information regarding to the best treatment of the patient.

(PS: WhyNot, I was going to send you a PM, but it seems you do not have that option activated.)

How it works in my hospital is this: doc decides you need blood. (oh, wait, let’s back up a minuter here: RN checks labs, sees that pt has a low hemoglobin, and notifies doctor, Doc decides to give pt blood. Type and crossmatch are drawn on pt. At this point, pt is banded with blood band. Pt is told that doc says s/he needs blood. Either doc explains risks inherent in transfusions or RN does. Pt agrees or says no. If says Yes, must sign a separate consent form --in my hospital-there is a paragraph in the surgical consent that allows them to give blood; I’ve never seen them use that one.

At my hospital, you have to sign a refusal to get transfused as well.
not sure if this helps!