Patients undergoing IV (intravenous) therapy typically have fluids introduced to their veins intravenously through a small catheter needle. The needle is usually inserted in the hand or arm to deliver medications in fluids separately or simultaneously. IV therapy is considered a convenient and quick option for administering medications. However, the therapy is not 100 percent reliable or safe.
Serious complications can arise when using a catheter into the vein such as IV infiltration where the medication or fluid is intravenously infused into surrounding tissue. Complications can develop when the catheter is improperly placed and inserted, or through inadequate monitoring by the medical staff.
In some cases, the medication injected intravenously through an extravasation process becomes extremely toxic when the drug is inadvertently delivered outside the bloodstream, causing serious problems to surrounding tissue and skin. Other serious complications of IV infiltration include:
- Severe scarring where the medication makes contact with the skin
- Permanent nerve damage
- Skin ulceration or blistering
- Severe burns, where healing requires skin grafting
- Amputation of the affected area
- Impaired or diminished use of an affected extremity
Every patient has an expectation that doctors, nurses and medical facilities are providing the highest level of care during every procedure. However, when a substandard level of care causes serious injuries, the medical staff and facility can be held legally accountable for their neglect.
Standard of Medical Care to Keep Patients Safe With IV’s
Medical doctors, nurses and other health care providers must takes steps to protect the patient from injuries associated with IV infiltration complications. This includes avoiding placement of IV catheter needles at joint sites, selecting the appropriate size catheter and following proper procedures before, during and after insertion. In addition, the IV catheter cannot be tightened too securely, constricting the patient’s blood flow.
To minimize the risk of complications, the medical staff is required to monitor the patient continuously to detect or identify any IV infiltration emergency. This includes making sure there are significant blood backflow into the catheter’s IV tubing while the liquid fluids are being delivered into the bloodstream. In addition, the medical staff must address any alarm set off by the equipment and check to ensure that the patient is receiving the medication and fluids at the proper infusion rate.
To ensure that the standard of care is given to every IV patient, the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at the facility should be fully trained on policies, procedures and protocols on how to effectively use a catheter to deliver fluids and medications. Without proper training, IV therapy accidents are usually caused by negligence or medical malpractice that could produce devastating, lifelong consequences. Any injury to the tissue and skin can cause significant health issues that must be addressed appropriately by skilled medical professionals.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit After a Complication Related to an IV
Most victims who have suffered a serious case of IV infiltration need to seek financial compensation through a claim or lawsuit to hold those negligent accountable for their actions. Skilled attorneys can build a strong case, proving negligence when the patient suffers serious medical complications. Some of these include:
- Tissue Necrosis – When surrounding affected tissue dies from the infiltration
- Compartment syndrome
- Air embolism
- Overloading fluids
- Loss of limb function at the affected site
- Nerve damage caused by IV therapy
- Permanent or long-lasting neurological disorder
- Necrotic tissue-associated amputation
- Spinal cord injury including quadriplegia or paraplegia
- Serious punctures causing vein ruptures or permanent damage to veins and arteries
- IV therapy delivering the wrong medication or overmedication
- Serious infection
If you, or a loved one, have suffered an IV infiltration injury, you are likely eligible to receive compensation. Rosenfeld injury lawyers specialize in medical malpractice cases including IV infiltration claims. Many of our clients have suffered serious preventable medical complications. Our experience legal team can investigate every cause of your injury, evaluate your case and determine what parties are responsible.
Through effective legal action, we can build a strong case for financial compensation to lessen your family’s financial burden caused by the negligence of others. Years of experience and accomplished negotiation skills allow us maintain a high success rate in handling medical malpractice claims and lawsuits. Call our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a no obligation, free initial consultation to discuss all your legal options.