IV, or intravenous, therapy is used to administer electrolytes, medications, antibiotics, and other fluids into the bloodstream through a small catheter needle inserted into a vein.
While IVs are used widely in the treatment of acute injuries or illnesses, and in various procedures or surgeries, they are not without risks. Serious complications can arise when IVs are improperly placed or patients are inadequately monitored.
This includes IV infiltration, which occurs when fluids or medications administered through IVs leak out of the vein and into the surrounding soft tissue.
If you or someone you love have suffered harm and losses due to IV infiltration, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. The Beasley Firm is one of Pennsylvania’s leading medical malpractice law firms and can help evaluate whether you may have a potential claim against a negligent provider.
Medical Negligence & IV Infiltration Injuries
IV therapy has become a common way to conveniently and quickly administer fluids and medications. Though there are situations when providers may insert needles several times in order to find a vein, multiple pokes do not constitute negligence nor injury.
However, there are cases when improper IV administration and other medical errors can lead to more serious harms. This can occur in cases of:
- IV infiltration, where fluids leak into the tissue surrounding the vein, causing swelling, pain, and cold or clammy skin around the point of insertion, and elevating risks for more serious harm when infiltration goes undetected; and
- IV Extravasation, where medications known as vesicants, which can cause more damage to tissue than other medicines, leak into the surrounding tissue.
IV mistakes can pose considerable risks of serious injury or death, especially in the case of IV extravasation involving vesicant medications. For this reason, it is vital for health care providers to properly place and administer IV catheters into the vein and to frequently assess patients and IVs in order to timely detect complications.
The longer infiltration or extravasation remains undetected, the greater the potential for more severe harm.
Unfortunately, some medical providers may err in upholding acceptable standards of their practice when administering IVs or monitoring patients and IV sites. This places patients at significant risk of suffering more severe harm, including:
- Burns or blisters of tissue surrounding IV site
- Tissue damage or death (necrosis)
- Injuries to nerves
- Compartment syndrome
- Air embolism
- Scarring and disfigurement
- The need for amputation or skin grafts
- Reflect sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
- Long-term or permanent disability
In addition to diligent and timely detection of IV complications, providers must also take immediate action once infiltration or extravasation is discovered.
This may include debridement of necrotic tissue and skin grafting or, in cases of severe swelling that compromises blood flow (compartment syndrome), a fasciotomy surgery that releases pressure and restores blood flow through a long incision. Though this may save a body part, it can also cause scarring and exacerbate what can already be prolonged, painful, and expensive recovery. In some cases, amputation may be necessary.
Do I Have a Malpractice Case For An IV Mistake?
Whether you have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim depends entirely on the unique facts of your case. Generally, injured patients and families may bring lawsuits against negligent providers who fail to meet acceptable standards of their profession.
This means, in short, that a provider who treated you failed to act in a manner a similarly trained and experienced provider would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.
In addition to proving substandard care, the Plaintiffs in malpractice cases will also need to prove that acceptable care would have likely resulted in a better outcome. Additionally, victims will need to prove their damages, which can include a range of economic and non-economic losses arising from their injuries.
Examples of damages in malpractice claims include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income and lost future wages
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
At The Beasley Firm, we’ve cultivated relationships with a network of medical experts who help our attorneys assess clients’ prognoses and what expenses, damages, and setbacks they’re likely to incur in the future as a result of their injuries. We use this insight to prove our clients’ claims, and pursue the full amount of compensation they need.
Why Choose The Beasley Firm?
- Over $2 billion in compensation recovered for clients since 1958.
- Record-setting results, including the two largest medical malpractice verdicts in Pennsylvania history ($100M and $55M).
- Named among U.S. News’ “Best Law Firms” in Medical Malpractice Law.
- Award-winning trial lawyers nationally recognized among the nation’s best.
The Beasley Firm is recognized nationally for our work helping victims of medical malpractice seek the justice and financial compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love have serious harm and losses resulting from IV complications such as infiltration or extravasation, our Philadelphia-based trial lawyers are readily available to discuss your rights and options.
To speak with an attorney during a FREE consultation, contact us.