William's story

William was recently admitted to hospital after having chest pain. Investigation showed that he had coronary artery disease. His heart doctor recommended he have urgent surgery due to the severity of his condition.

William's doctor explained many of the risks relating to the surgery including the chance of bleeding and the posibility of needing a transfusion of blood products (red cells and platelets). The doctor also explained a number of techniques that they will use during the operation to help William avoid a transfusion if possible; such as using medication that helps reduce blood loss (tranexamic acid), keeping William warm to avoid hypothermia, and using a procedure called cell salvage which involves recycling William's own red cells lost during the operation.

William was happy to consent to both the operation and blood product transfusion if required.

Despite the techniques used, there was a lot of blood loss during the surgery and William's haemoglobin dropped to a very low level, so the anaesthetist and surgeon decided to transfuse one unit of red blood cells.

When William was awake and recovered from his operation his doctor let him know he received a red cell transfusion without any complications. The doctor explained that if he requires a transfusion in the future William should let the hospital staff know about his blood transfusion history.

Key information

  • William required urgent unplanned surgery and was informed of the risks of the procedure, including the risk of receiving a blood transfusion and techniques to minimise this.
  • William consented to the operation and to the blood product transfusion if required.
  • Once awake his doctor informed him of the outcomes of his operation including that he received a red cell transfusion.
  • William is aware that he will need to inform doctors of his history of transfusion for future care.


Learn more about having a transfusion and red cell transfusion.

Send us your patient stories

Let us know about your experience of receiving a transfusion. Did you have a transfusion that helped treat your condition? Did you receive treatment that meant a transfusion could be avoided? We’d love to hear about your story and maybe even share it here on mytransfusion.com.au.