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State Decides Whether Blood Banks are Immune from Medical Malpractice

The parents of a 7-year-old boy who died after he contracted the West Nile virus from a tainted blood transfusion asked a state’s Supreme Court to restore an $8 million jury verdict against a blood bank. The justices have also been asked to decide whether all blood banks are covered by the state’s medical malpractice suits, which include special procedures and limits on damages and attorney fees, rather than general negligence laws. The American Red Cross and two national blood bank associations are participating in the case through a written “friend-of-the-court” argument that sided with the defendant, a blood bank. The appellate court overturned the negligence verdict in the death of the young boy. It ruled the boy’s estate should have filed a notice to the blood bank before suing as required for a medical malpractice claim. The parents argued that the appellate ruling violates his clients’ right to access to the courts, saying it would be impossible to comply with the medical malpractice requirements. This is due to the fact that the parent’s couldn’t obtain records on the donor they’d need to file a preliminary notice because of patient confidentiality laws. To read the full story, click here.