Kimberley Raine is suing the Red Cross Blood Service over an injury she sustained after giving blood. Picture: Megan Slade/AAP
Kimberley Raine is suing the Red Cross Blood Service over an injury she sustained after giving blood. Picture: Megan Slade/AAP

Donor’s mishap leaves bad blood

A FALL after donating blood has left a Queensland woman on the brink of losing her house due to a neck injury she says could have been prevented.

Kimberley Raine, 50, had just donated blood at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Maroochydore donor centre when she started feeling unwell in the recovery area.

She claims she tried to get the attention of a staff member, but the reception and nurses' station were both deserted.

"The next thing I remember I was regaining consciousness on the floor … there was about four or five staff around me and I had this incredible pain across the top of my head," she said.

No consideration was given to whether she may have suffered a neck injury when staff got her up off the floor, Ms Raine said.

"I came home and within a few days I was getting horrendous pain in my left arm, I couldn't feel my hand properly, so that's when I went to the doctor and they gave an MRI that showed a crushed nerve in my neck," she said.

After 12 months of waiting in vain for her arm function to return and neck pain to subside, she decided to start legal proceedings against the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, claiming it was negligent by leaving her unattended.

But four years after the incident, the Coolum Beach jeweller said the blood service was refusing to pay, despite the fact she hadn't been able to return to work full-time in her business.

"I was running my own successful small business designing and making jewellery and that has severely suffered because I'm in constant pain, I have pins and needles in my left hand most of the time," she said.

"I used to be really fit and now I can't even go for a run on the beach."

Her inability to work full-time has resulted in significant debt, according to Ms Raine.

"This month I had to cancel my car insurance to get a refund so I could make my mortgage repayment," she said.

A spokesman for the charity said it was unable to comment on the case but that the blood service prided itself on its focus on donor and recipient safety.

"Last year we safely collected 1.3 million donations from 455,000 generous donors," he said.

"In the rare event that a donor is injured our staff are fully trained and we thoroughly investigate such matters."

Ms Raine said Red Cross Blood Service had offered a small compensation payment without admitting fault, but it was only enough money to cover her legal fees.

Without proper compensation Ms Raine said she feared she would lose her home.

"I just want people to be aware of what can go wrong … they didn't follow their own procedures of not leaving people unattended after giving blood, and I'm paying the price for that," she said.