Mark Roman | July 3, 2023 | Medical Malpractice
If you go to the hospital for a procedure, chances are high that a routine part of your procedure will involve the insertion of an intravenous therapy (IV) needle. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about one billion intravenous needles and associated peripheral IV tubes are used every year. And approximately 80% of hospital patients require an IV.
IV insertion is meant to be a simple procedure. Doctors and nurses are both taught how to perform it. Some medical facilities even have teams that are specially trained in proper IV needle insertion.
Despite how commonplace the procedure is, it is not without risk. An improperly inserted IV needle can cause serious medical complications, leading to a potential medical malpractice claim.
Steps to Inserting an IV Needle
Inserting an IV needle is not a complicated process. The nurse or medical professional will wash their hands and follow the sanitary protocol. Although not an overly invasive procedure, failing to follow these common-sense cleanliness precautions can lead to an infection.
The medical professional will then:
- Locate a suitable vein, most often near your elbow joint or on your wrist
- Prepare the site with an alcohol pad
- Insert the needle into the vein
The needle insertion itself is relatively painless and does not require any anesthesia.
Once the needle is inserted, the professional secures it in place with medical tape and connects it to a tube that flows to an IV bag containing the necessary fluids or medications. The nurse will then set a regulator that controls the rate at which the fluid or medication is introduced into your body.
Once the IV Is no longer needed, your nurse or doctor will stop the flow of fluids through the tube and needle. They then remove the needle and place a bandage over the insertion site. No follow-up visit is needed, as IV insertion sites heal without additional medical intervention.
Complications from Negligent IV Insertion
Familiarity breeds complacency, and the routine nature of IV needle insertion can lead to carelessness. Needles not inserted in accordance with established procedures can lead to potentially serious complications.
One possible adverse consequence of a careless IV needle insertion is referred to as infiltration. This occurs when the needle is not properly inserted into the vein; as a result, the medication or fluid being administered spills or leaks into surrounding tissues. IV infiltration can damage the affected tissue, cause severe pain, or even lead to amputation of the affected arm.
If the needle is not carefully inserted, or if the nurse must insert the needle several times because they missed the vein, there is a risk of damaging the surrounding nerves. This damage could potentially be permanent and lead you to lose the use of the affected arm.
What to Do if You Suspect IV Infiltration or Negligence
The sooner IV infiltration or complications from negligent IV insertion are detected, the better the outcome for you. Listen to your nurse or doctor explain the possible side effects of the medication or fluid they are inserting intravenously. If you feel sharp pain, burning, or anything that seems out of the ordinary, bring the matter up with your medical team immediately.
In addition, make sure to observe the insertion site after the IV procedure is completed. A burning sensation, blistering, or redness and heat are all indications that something is wrong. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible or visit the nearest emergency room to be evaluated.
IV Infiltration and Complications Do Happen
No matter how many IVs you have had inserted, do not assume that this procedure can never go wrong. Keep watch for signs that your nurse or doctor may have made a mistake, and do not be afraid to speak up if you feel something is wrong. Doing so helps ensure that you get the benefit your treatment provides and that you prevent serious consequences.
Contact the New Port Richey Personal Injury Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in New Port Richey. We have five convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
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