The introduction of fluids into your veins (intravenously) is a process commonly referred to as IV therapy. Most patients who are hospitalized receive a peripheral IV line which is started by inserting a catheter (small needle) through the skin into the vein. This is usually done in the arm or hand. The IV can then be used to administer both fluids and medications.
While an IV is a convenient way to administer medications, infiltration (the inadvertent infusion of medication into the surrounding tissue) can occur. This can be caused by improper placement or insertion of the catheter or inadequate monitoring of the IV site by the hospital staff or nurses. Since some medications are extremely toxic outside the blood stream, the harms resulting from IV infiltration can be quite severe and include:
- Second or third degree burns, some requiring skin grafts
- Blisters or ulceration
- Permanent nerve injury
- Severe scarring
- Impaired use of the extremity
Injuries can usually be minimized or completely eliminated simply by proper monitoring and assessment of the IV site. Most hospitals maintain a written protocol which outlines how often the hospital staff and nurses should check IV sites for redness, drainage, swelling, pain, and other signs of infection or burns. Vigilance is particularly important in young children and infants who are unable to verbalize pain and discomfort. For pediatric patients, IV dressings should be removed and checked as often as every 2 hours when particular medications are being administered. When serious injury results from IV infiltration experienced counsel should be engaged to pursue all available legal remedies.
The lawyers at Burnside Law Firm have a history of success representing people injured by IV infiltration caused by the negligent administration and/or monitoring of IV sites after infusion begins. To learn more about filing a claim for such an injury, please contact a lawyer at the law firm of Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free consultation.
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