In an emergency situation where the patient is likely to die from exsanguination before blood can be cross matched, Group O blood can be given until the patient’s blood group is established. This is purely at the discretion of the clinician looking after care of the patient and should only be utilised in life-threatening scenarios where groups specific compatible blood cannot wait to be issued.
Depending on patient circumstances, group O Rh D Negative or Positive blood can be given. Blood grouping should be carried out as quickly as possible to minimise the ‘blind’ use of group O blood, and this should be limited to no more than two units in most instances. Once the patient’s blood group has been determined and the two sample rule criteria is fulfilled, a switch to group specific blood should be made.
There are times 2 units of O Rh D Negative and times 2 units of O Rh D Positive ‘Flying Squad’ red cells available at all times in the blood issue fridge. Each unit is identified by colour coded and symbol driven identification tags to guide staff in selecting the appropriate unit of blood for particular patients described below.