Pregnant women denied anti-D injection

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According to a BBC report, a UK-wide audit of NHS hospitals has identified that pregnant women are being denied the anti-D injection for rhesus disease, which is a life threatening condition that occurs if the mother and her baby have incompatible blood groups.

Baby Rhesus negative blood

All pregnant women should be screened and any found to have rhesus-negative blood should be offered the anti-D jab.

The audit carried out by the University of Manchester over a 15 year period have identified 1,211 cases where women who should have received the anti-D injection did not.

According to the report:
  • In half of these cases, the woman either did not receive the treatment at all or received it late - mostly because the nurse, midwife or doctor on duty at the time failed to follow basic protocols
  • Laboratory errors accounted for just over a quarter of the cases
  • In a fifth of cases, the anti-D jab was given entirely inappropriately - either mistakenly to the wrong mother or to a woman who did not need it
  • In 9 cases, babies suffered the full-blown effects of the disease. One died and 3 needed blood transfusions

This is a shocking report which highlights completely avoidable mistakes that cause unnecessary injury and death that have been repeated time and again by specialist doctors and midwives who we would expect to be fully aware of the dangers of rhesus disease.

Rhesus disease is a condition which affects an unborn baby when its mother’s immune system generates antibodies which attack the baby’s red blood cells.

Rhesus disease was once a leading cause of fetal and newborn death and if left untreated, severe cases can lead to stillbirth, learning difficulties, deafness, blindness and cerebral palsy.


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