Patient Center

Transfusion Patient Information

Outpatient transfusions are routinely scheduled with Hematology Services of St. John Medical Center, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm (excluding holidays). Outpatient transfusions scheduled for times other than those listed above are known as "observation" transfusions.

Patients scheduled for transfusions may experience a 3-4 hour wait before actual transfusions are started, depending on the time required to acquire, prepare, and crossmatch the transfusion products specified by the physician.

Each unit of transfusion product can take from 1 1/2 to 4 hours to receive depending on the rate specified by the physician. Occasionally transfusion patients may have to remain in the hospital overnight and should be prepared to do so. Overnight stays may be due to the length of time required to receive multiple transfusion products or less frequently for observation after experiencing a transfusion reaction.


You may, with approval from your physician, avoid some of the above mentioned delays by opting to be transfused the following day, after completing admission paperwork and submitting specimens for crossmatch the day before. You can choose to be transfused the next day either by Hematology Services during regular transfusion hours or later through the "outpatient observation" transfusion process.

  1. If you are scheduled as an "observation" transfusion or have never been to Hematology Services to be transfused, please report immediately to St. John Medical Center Admissions Department on the 1st floor of the hospital. The Admissions Department will make every effort to expedite the process. If you have been previously transfused by Hematology Services and are scheduled with them for subsequent transfusions, you may report directly to Hematology Services on the 8th floor of the Siegfried Tower on the St. John Medical Center campus.
  2. Once the admissions process is complete, you will be escorted to Hematology Services.
  3. If your blood was not drawn at the doctor's office, it will be drawn within 45 minutes of being admitted.
  4. The IV nurse will administer the transfusion as soon as the transfusion products are available from the laboratory Blood Bank.
  5. Once your transfusion is complete, you will be accompanied to the Dismissals Department to be discharged. If the Dismissals Department is closed, the floor nurse will complete the discharge.
  6. A transfusion reaction can occur during a transfusion or within 24 hours of receiving a transfusion. Listed below are symptoms that may indicate a transfusion reaction.

The most common symptoms experienced are:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Rash or hives

Symptoms that are experienced less frequently include:

  • Back pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Shortness of breath

If you experience any of these symptoms while at the hospital, report them to your nurse. If you are away from the hospital, report them to your physician.

*Outpatient is defined as a patient initially admitted to the hospital for less than 24 hours.