A risk with the use of intravenous (IV) fluids and/or medications is the risk of intravenous infiltration. This potentially dangerous condition is frequently the result of substandard medical care or medical malpractice.
What is IV Infiltration?
Administering fluids or medications intravenously is common practice in the medical setting. Healthcare providers use IVs during all types of procedures and during all stages of care.
When administered properly, IVs generally present very little risk to patients. But, when administered improperly, IVs can cause significant harm. One of the greatest risks associated with improper IV administration is IV infiltration.
With IV infiltration, the fluids or medications intended for the patient’s bloodstream instead leak into (or infiltrate) the tissue surrounding the blood vessel. This can result from three primary causes:
- IV administration errors (including insertion errors and using a wrong-size needle)
- The catheter needle becoming dislodged
- The catheter needle passing completely through the blood vessel
All three of these causes can potentially be indicative of medical malpractice. Doctors and nurses must not only ensure that they administer intravenous fluids and medications correctly, but they must also adequately advise and monitor patients who have IVs. As a result, any time a patient experiences IV infiltration, the possibility of the infiltration resulting from medical malpractice should not be ignored.
What are the Risks Associated with IV Infiltration?
When a patient experiences IV infiltration, the specific risks depend on the severity of the infiltration, the fluids or medications being administered through the IV, and various other factors. As a result, when a patient experiences infiltration, a prompt and accurate diagnosis is critical. With this in mind, short-term risks associated with IV infiltration generally include swelling, discomfort (often a burning sensation) and lack of IV flow into the bloodstream. If not addressed promptly, IV infiltration can lead to tissue damage and nerve damage, and if the patient does not get the fluids or medications he or she needs, IV infiltration can potentially have life-threatening consequences.
Do You Have an IV Infiltration Medical Malpractice Claim in Orlando?
Patients and families in Orlando can pursue medical malpractice claims related to IV infiltration on various grounds. Some examples of possible IV infiltration medical malpractice claims include:
1. Improper IV Administration
If improper administration (i.e., inserting the catheter needle too deep or at the wrong angle) results in infiltration, this can potentially justify a claim for medical malpractice.
2. Failure to Advise or Monitor a Patient with an IV
If a nurse or doctor fails to advise a patient regarding the risks of dislodgement or if a provider fails to adequately monitor a patient with an IV, these are both mistakes that can potentially rise to the level of medical malpractice as well.
3. Failure to Diagnose IV Infiltration
When a patient is exhibiting symptoms of IV infiltration, a prompt diagnosis can be critical for mitigating the patient’s risks. Failure to diagnose is among the most common forms of medical malpractice in all healthcare scenarios.
4. Failure to Treat IV Infiltration
Failure to timely and properly treat IV infiltration can also constitute medical malpractice. Once a patient has been diagnosed with infiltration, the provider should administer appropriate treatment promptly to protect the patient’s well-being.
Contact our office to discuss your legal rights and options.