Hospital Death

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

New documents show a Buford man who died in March at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta had received blood that was improperly matched by the American Red Cross.

But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that no one has determined whether the mix-up, involving an unusual blood type, killed 34-year-old Rodney English six days later.

The case raises questions about why the government altered its findings in its investigation of Red Cross procedures, questions that now are a part of a probe by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Red Cross officials say they mismatched the blood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged changing its inspection documents, effectively downplaying Red Cross responsibility. The FDA also says it deleted other questions it had raised about the Red Cross in Atlanta, some of which involved two other deaths after blood transfusions.

The FDA has not blamed the hospital or the Red Cross for English's death. But the agency has not fully explained the document changes.

Committee staff says the Senate Finance Committee is looking into the report changes.

English was born with the crippling birth defect spina bifida and used a wheelchair most of his life. He was being treated at Piedmont for an infected pressure sore on his hip. He received eight units of blood on March 6 and 7, and then went into a coma and died March 12. No autopsy was performed.

The man's family has retained Atlanta lawyer William Bird, who is investigating the case.

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