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Background: Over the years, modern medicine has been able to provide a better quality services to patients. However, medical error is still prevalent and has a lot of negative consequences on patients’ outcome. These may include delayed treatment, longer hospital stays, or even worsening of the patient’s condition. The aim of this study was to determine the rate of sample rejection at KCMC Clinical Laboratory and the different pre-analytical errors that contribute to it.
Methods: Data extraction sheet was used to collect information from rejection forms from January to December 2016. Information on types of sample rejected, the wards/departments from which they were collected and the clinical laboratory section in which they were to be analysed were collected.
Results: Out of the 117181 samples received from January to December 2016, 234 were rejected, giving a 0.19% rate of rejection. The highest rates of rejection were from haematology section 78 (33.3%). The major type of rejected sample was blood (86.3%) and 20% of the rejected samples came from internal medicine department, mainly from its inpatient department (13.6%). The commonest reason for rejection was unpaid specimens 84 (35.9%).
Conclusion: The impact of pre-analytical errors on patient care is not negligible. A joint collaboration of all the stakeholders involved in patient care, specimen handling and analysis, and policymaking is necessary to arrive at quick and tangible solutions. Better communication between laboratory staff and other health care personnel is essential.