Most hospitalized patients will have fluids or medications administered by an IV at some point during their stay. An IV is an important mechanism used to quickly deliver necessary medication or fluids to restore the health and well-being of any patient. Unfortunately, negligence in management of an IV line can result in serious injury, even wrongful death. If your loved one entered the hospital and suffered a serious IV infiltration injury, it is important to know your rights.
Our legal team at Burnside Law Firm LLP represents clients involved in complex medical malpractice litigation including IV related injuries. We are equipped to handle cases involving:
- IV infiltration and extravasation
- Misplacement of central and PICC lines
- Chemotherapy toxicity
- Medication errors
- Fluid overload
- Air embolism
Injuries to adult patients can range in severity from skin irritation and burning, to permanent disfigurement, amputation and wrongful death. Our attorneys work with experienced medical experts who will help investigate the facts of your case, determine the cause of injury, and aggressively pursue claims against all responsible parties. We work to maximize your compensation for any medical injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other personal losses.
IV Infiltration Injuries and IV Burns
IV Infiltration typically occurs because an IV catheter either backs out of the vein it is situated in or causes damage to the vein wall, allowing the infusing fluids or medications to soak into the tissues around the IV site instead of the blood stream. Severity of the resulting injury usually depends on the type and amount of fluid allowed to enter the tissues before the infiltration is detected. The longer it remains undiscovered, the more severe the resulting harm. For this reason, diligent and timely assessment of IV sites is an essential ingredient to safe IV therapy. Intravenous mistakes and injuries from IV infiltration can include:
- Pain, burning and swelling
- Tissue damage
- Burns and blisters
- Nerve injuries
- Compartment syndrome
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Skin grafts
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
- Increased costs
- Additional treatment or time spent in hospital
- Long term disability
- Wrongful death
Certain medications called vesicants cause more damage to the surrounding tissues than others. If a vesicant medication leaks into the tissue surrounding an IV site, a process known as IV Extravasation, the results can be catastrophic. For this reason, frequent assessment of IV sites is essential when infusing vesicant medications. If you have suffered an IV extravasation injury due to a nursing or hospital mistake, please consult a lawyer to learn more about your right to compensation for your injuries.
IV Infiltration and Extravasation Treatment
The first step in treating IV infiltration and extravasation injuries is obviously to stop the IV once the injury is discovered. Thereafter, infiltration injuries are often treated like other burns and require debridement of necrotic tissue and skin grafting. Treatment can be prolonged, expensive and very painful. If the swelling caused by infiltrating fluids becomes so severe it compromises blood flow in the affected area (known as compartment syndrome), an incision long enough to release the pressure and restore blood flow may be required ( fasciotomy surgery). While this may save the arm or other body part involved, it will also leave a large scar and prolong the healing process.
If you suspect medical negligence, do not hesitate to contact our Augusta, Georgia, lawyer at Burnside Law Firm LLP. We offer experienced, strategic advocacy in cases involving IV Infiltration injury. Call (706) 432-8320 or contact us by e-mail for an initial consultation.