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United Blood Services, Division of Blood Systems, Inc. v. Quintana

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Citation. United Blood Services v. Quintana, 827 P.2d 509 (Colo. Mar. 23, 1992)

Brief Fact Summary. Alleging that she was infected with AIDS after being given contaminated plasma supplied to a hospital by United Blood Services (a division of Blood Systems, Inc.), Plaintiff patient and her husband filed a negligence action against Defendant blood bank.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The law imposes on a blood bank the duty to exercise due care under the attending circumstances to the end that those receiving health care will benefit and adverse results therefrom will be minimized by the use of available and proven scientific safeguards. A blood bank is liable in negligence, therefore, when it fails to make use of, or makes unreasonable use of, available and proven scientific safeguards in the course of acquiring, preparing, or transferring human blood or its components for use in medical treatment.

Facts. In May 1983, Plaintiff, Mrs. Quintana suffered a gunshot wound and underwent emergency surgery in a Colorado hospital. During surgery she received several units of blood and other blood products. She subsequently showed symptoms consistent with the AIDS virus. She was, in fact, later diagnosed. It was later determined that the donor of a unit of blood, processed and supplied to the hospital by defendant, UBS, was a member of a high-risk group for AIDS. Plaintiff patient and her husband filed a negligence action against UBS. In a pretrial motion, Plaintiffs attempted to introduce expert testimony from a physician who would have testified as to the applicable standard of care in the acquisition, preparation, and transfer of human blood. Defendant’s moved to preclude his testimony and the trial court granted the motion. At trial, the court ruled that the local statute imposed a professional standard of care, as opposed to the general standard of reasonable care, on the blood bank
ing community as it was engaged in medical services. Based on the pretrial motion noted above, Plaintiff’s expert was not permitted to testify in connection with the proper testing and screening procedures involved in blood acquisition, preparation, and transfer. The jury, instructed by the judge that the industry standard was the proper one to be applied, found for the Defendant.

* Did the court of appeals err in overruling the trial with regard to the standard of care to be applied in cases involving the acquisition, preparation, and transfer of human blood?
* Was the court of appeals correct in ordering a new trial because the trial court erroneously applied the standard of care in such cases?
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