Life-saving dialysis for people who have kidney problems can bring about its own risks. Although needed to help these patients filter their blood, the procedure itself can cause a variety of side effects that can affect the patient’s health.
Common side-effects can cause the patient to fall or have other problems after the procedure resulting in serious injury or death. Medical staff at dialysis centers need to be aware of these dangerous side effects to keep their patients safe.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people who have suffered an injury during dialysis procedures or who have been injured at a dialysis center. Contact our office for a free case review.
Adverse Side Effects Related To Dialysis Treatments
Preparing and looking for possible side effects is one way that staff can protect their patients after dialysis. Although a patient may look fine on the exterior, internally several different complications may be going on, including overdoses of acetic acid or acetate that are used in dialysis. Some common side effects are:
- Hypotension or low blood pressure. This is the most common complication that occurs with dialysis. Due to ultrafiltration of the blood and a lack in the refilling of the cardiovascular system, the patient may become susceptible to low blood pressure that can make them dizzy and have loss of balance among other serious side effects.
- Hypoxemia. Another common complication with dialysis is hypoxemia or low oxygen in the blood and happens in 90% of patients. This can occur even when the patient is on a ventilator. Lack of oxygen can cause serious and even fatal side effects if left untreated.
- Cramps. Many patients undergoing dialysis can suffer from muscle cramps, especially towards the end of the procedure. This can limit their ability to move properly if not corrected.
FDA Recall of Dialysis Drugs
In addition to other concerns with dialysis treatments, there was also a Class 1 recall of the dialysis drugs GranuFlo and Naturalyte on March 29, 2012, by the FDA. These drugs have been used for dialysis and were found to increase bicarbonate levels that can lead to cardiovascular issues, heart attacks, and even death. The maker of these drugs, Fresenius, has been accused of knowing about the health risks prior to the FDA recall yet not alerting medical practitioners or the public.
Responsibility of Facilities to Prevent Dialysis Patient Falls
One common problem for patients on dialysis is the risk of falling and injuring themselves. This can happen during and after dialysis, as many of the complications previously listed will affect their balance and ability to walk. Medical staff needs to be aware of this risk, especially with patients who may already be at high risk for falls due to their age, mobility or other health issues.
- Environment. The area around the patient should be clear of obstacles and have a dry, non-slip floor. Making the rooms and hallways easy to walk in and navigate is important to preventing falls in general.
- Supervision. Patients have been known to become dizzy and fall from their chair or bed while having dialysis. There needs to be supervision to make sure the patients are not at risk of falling.
- Assistance. When the patient is leaving from dialysis, they may need assistance walking due to dizziness or muscle cramps. Using a walker or wheelchair along with staff assistance may be required.
Dialysis is an important procedure for people with kidney problems but it can cause severe problems above and beyond the kidney issues that it is designed to help. Any medical center that does dialysis needs to be aware of the risks and know how to make sure their patients are kept safe from further harm, including falls and other possible side effects.
Dialysis Malpractice Awards
$765,000 Settlement; Dialysis Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The patient in this dispute was a woman in her late seventies. She lived at a nursing home but could not communicate. The company that administered her dialysis sent a nurse to deliver the treatment. That nurse did not notice that the patient’s arm was swollen. The nurse injected the needed into the fistula rather than the venous catheter without consulting the woman’s medical history or general condition. The error caused bleeding and lots of it. She had to be transferred to a local hospital so they could suture her up. Yet, even despite that treatment, infection set it and complicated the bleeding problem. She died not long after this chain of events. The patient’s four children survived her. They brought a wrongful death case against the dialysis company and the treating provider. They alleged negligence, malpractice, and wrongful death. In an out-of-court settlement, the plaintiffs received $765,000 in compensation. That was cover their damages including over $100,000 in medical bills.
$7,250,000 Settlement; Dialysis Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The victim in this dialysis case was fifty-six. He had renal failure. Consequently, his doctors were performing a blood transfusion. However, they should have done this in conjunction with dialysis. This would have reduced the danger of volume overload. However, since they did not take precautions against this, he developed an overload and died because of it. He had a wife and two kids who survived him. They sued for wrongful death. The family cited the chain of events just described and said only negligence would allow for them. In a private settlement, they received over $7 million of compensation.
$2,205,000 Settlement; Dialysis Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This case involved the unexpected passing of a young mother. She was just thirty-five at the time of the events which gave rise to this lawsuit. Her doctors put her on a course of dialysis treatment. During the course of that care, she became infected with one of the catheters they used. She died not long after they discovered the infection. She was survived by her four children. They were all minors. Lawyers for the woman’s estate sued. They argued the defendant providers and facility were negligent and responsible for her death. They pointed to the dirty catheter, the failure to use a fistula or graft, and other errors made in the course or her treatment. This case went up on appeal and had to be retried. However, in the end, the plaintiffs prevailed. They were secured a settlement worth over $2 million.
$1,700,000 Settlement; Dialysis Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This case got serious very fast. The patient was a male in his middle sixties. He had been undergoing dialysis treatment for over a week due to kidney failure. A nurse treating him tried to take out a catheter that was supplying the dialysis. That removal caused him to suffer a major embolism. He died just a few weeks after this event from effects caused by the embolism. His wife and children survived him. They sued for wrongful death. They sought compensation for their pain, his pain, medical bills (over $100,000 of them), lost life expectancy, and other related damages. The defendants preferred a quiet settlement to a drawn-out trial. The family received $1.7 million.Dialysis Injury Lawyers: Representing Patients Injured At Dialysis Centers
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or death during a dialysis procedure or shortly thereafter, our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys are interested in speaking with you. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has successfully represented individuals in cases against dialysis clinics and medical centers. Each case is indeed different and we are ready and able to get to work for you. We offer free, confidential consultations and never charge a fee without a recovery for you.