Are you at legal risk if you collect cord blood?

May 1, 2006

There are many ways physicians can be vulnerable to a lawsuit whencollecting cord blood, and the risks of a mishap may well increaseas companies in the business of storing cord blood step up theirmarketing efforts, according to an article in American Medical News(2/13/06).

There are many ways physicians can be vulnerable to a lawsuit when collecting cord blood, and the risks of a mishap may well increase as companies in the business of storing cord blood step up their marketing efforts, according to an article in American Medical News (2/13/06). For example, the physician could agree to collect the cord blood and then forget to do it. Or, something could go wrong in the collection process. If the blood is needed for treatment at a later date and it is unavailable or tainted, the parents could sue-either for medical malpractice or a breach of contract.

To protect themselves from such lawsuits, physicians should require expectant parents to sign a consent form specific to cord blood collection. Do not assume that a hospital's form will provide coverage for your actions. Have a form of your own and have the patient sign it.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends that physicians evaluate the potential risks and benefits to patients before agreeing to collect cord blood. In this way, physicians are able to give educated answers to patients' questions about the procedure.