4-Month-Old baby's leg swollen with bubbles after blood transfusion

4-Month-Old baby's leg swollen with bubbles after blood transfusion

"What is more frustrating is that the doctors and the nurses are blaming each other..."

A 4-month-old baby’s left leg was left swollen with big, dark bubbles after complications following blood transfusion.

His family is now appealing for justice.

Complications Following Blood Transfusion Leave Little Baby’s Foot Swollen

The incident happened at Penang Hospital in Malaysia, on 12 Nov 2018. Apparently, the baby, Muhammad Zain Al Fateh Muhammad Faizal Amri, was being operated for hernia at 3 pm, when his blood pressure fell.

He had to undergo blood transfusion through his left leg, which was completed at around 7 pm that day.

It was after the blood transfusion that the baby’s left leg got swollen with dark bubbles popping out. Apparently, doctors and nurses at the hospital are now blaming each other for the complication.

Complications Following Blood Transfusion


Being born premature, it wasn’t the first time that the baby had undergone a blood transfusion. 

“Blood transfusion was done several times on him at the Seberang Jaya Hospital before and there was no problem.

“The doctor here claimed the nurse accidentally inserted the needle into the blood vessel, resulting in the swelling and bubble-like leg, as I was told earlier today.”

“What is more frustrating is that the doctors and the nurses are blaming each other. The doctors claimed the nurses did it and the nurses said otherwise, and they argued in front of me”, his father, Muhammad Faizal Amri Abdul Ghani, told the New Straits Times (NST).

The news went viral after grandfather Abdul Ghani Abdul Wahid shared it on Facebook .

Initially, the family was told that the baby’s leg would have to be cut off to remove the blood clot, but thankfully the child’s condition is now stable.

Meanwhile, the hospital hasn’t been able to confirm the real cause of the problem. The family is now planning to take legal action against the hospital for negligence. A police report has now been made, according to the grandfather’s latest Facebook post.

“The hospital claimed the incident happened because of the baby’s movement. But he was still unconscious after a jab following the hernia operation.”

“My baby is still under anaesthetic jab to minimise the pain after the operation. However, I am worried the anaesthetics might affect his growth”, says the concerned father to NST.

Meanwhile, state Health Department director Datuk Dr Wan Mansor Hamzah has assured in a statement that the baby’s condition is stable. The child is being constantly monitored. 

“A meeting with the parents for clarifications was done today. They can also reach our department or the hospital management if they have any queries,” he said.

Common complications following blood transfusion

Sometimes, little children or babies might need to receive blood transfusions. In a transfusion, a patient receives whole blood or one of its parts through an intravenous line, or IV. 

complications following blood transfusion


The reasons why a child or baby may need a blood transfusion are:

  • Being born premature. Newborn babies frequently become anaemic (have a reduced number of red blood cells), particularly if they are born early. 
  • A serious injury that caused major blood loss
  • Surgery that caused a lot of blood loss
  • A liver problem that makes the body unable to create certain blood parts
  • A bleeding disorder such as haemophilia
  • An illness that causes reduced or poor-quality RBCs (anaemia)
  • Kidney failure, which causes problems with blood cell production
  • Treatment for cancer (chemotherapy) that slows down the body’s production of blood cells

A blood transfusion is only given if it is absolutely essential. Your doctor or nurse will balance the risk of your baby having a blood transfusion against the risk of not having one. They should also explain the risks and any possible alternatives to you before gaining consent for the procedure. 

Risks of blood transfusions for a child

All procedures have some risks. The risks of blood transfusions include:

  • An allergic reaction

It is possible to experience an allergic reaction to the blood you receive, even if it’s the correct blood type. The reaction can be mild or severe.

Mild symptoms can include itching or rash. Severe symptoms can include trouble breathing, chest pain, or nausea. These symptoms may start soon after a blood transfusion or within the next 24 hours.

  • Fever

Fever can happen within a day of the blood transfusion. It is usually not considered serious if there is a fever 1 to 6 hours after the transfusion.

But if the fever is also accompanied by nausea or chest pain, it could be something more serious.

  • Destruction of red blood cells by the body (haemolytic reaction)

A haemolytic reaction happens when the body attacks the donated RBCs. This happens if a person receives a blood type that his or her blood isn’t compatible with.

Donated blood goes through a very careful matching process, so this reaction is very rare.

If it does happen, it can cause chills, fever, nausea, kidney damage, chest pain and other serious symptoms.

Symptoms can happen during the blood transfusion or in the next several hours.

A delayed haemolytic reaction can also happen. This can happen even if your child received the right blood type. This may take days or weeks to happen. It may not cause any symptoms, but it can cause your child’s RBC count to be lower.

  • Too much blood in the body (transfusion overload)

Transfusion overload may happen if a person receives more blood than needed. It can cause shortness of breath and other symptoms.

The symptoms usually happen within a few hours to a day. It is more common in people with heart problems. 

  • Too much iron in the body 

The patient can get haemochromatosis (or iron overload). This can happen in people who need to have many blood transfusions over time for an ongoing medical condition.

It can damage your heart and liver.

  • Viruses being transmitted

Blood goes through a very careful screening before blood transfusions, still, there is a minute possibility for infections.

The viruses can include HIV or hepatitis.  

  • Graft versus host disease

This is a condition where the new, donated blood cells attack cells in the body. It is a serious but rare condition, but is usually fatal.

It only happens in people with very weak immune systems. Symptoms such as fever and rash may start within a month of the blood transfusion.

(Source: New Straits Times, Johns Hopkins Medicine)

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