Understanding IV Complications and When You Need an Attorney for Medical Malpractice

by Admin | Jan 05, 2023 | Legal Questions/Issues Medical Issues/Negligence

IVs or intravenous therapy can be lifesaving, but, if mistakes are made, can lead to life threatening consequences. An attorney for medical malpractice can help you navigate the aftermath of this type of medical complication. If you or a loved one has experienced a medical problem due to the negligence of a medical professional’s administration of an IV, this guide will help get you started as you determine if you may need an attorney for medical malpractice.

Frequently Asked Questions About IVs and Hiring an Attorney for Medical Malpractice

What is intravenous therapy? Intravenous therapy (commonly referred to as an IV) is a delivery method used to administer fluids like electrolytes and medications through a small catheter needle that is inserted into a vein. The needle is typically inserted into the hand or arm to deliver whichever medications and fluid are necessary. IVs are widely used and offer many benefits, but if not used correctly serious complications can arise. A qualified attorney for medical malpractice can assist when complications arise due to negligence.

What types of IV complications can occur? An experienced attorney for medical malpractice can help you assess your situation, but here is a general list of the common IV complications.

  • Improper insertions – Complications may develop when the catheter is improperly inserted or placed.
  • Inadequate monitoring – When the medical staff does not adequately monitor the area, a range of complications can arise that lead to serious medical problems.
  • IV Infiltration – This term refers to when the intravenous medication or fluid leaks out of the vein into the surrounding soft tissue.
  • IV Extravasation – When medications known as vesicants, which can cause more damage to tissue than other medications, leak into the surrounding tissue. Some of these include:
    • Aminophylline
    • Chlorothiazide (Diuril®)
    • Dobutamine (Dobutrex®)
    • Epinephrine
    • Mitomycin C (Mutamycin®)
    • Nitroglycerin
    • Norepinephrine (Levophed®)
    • Phenylephrine
    • Promethazine (Phenergan®)
    • Tromethamine (THAM®)
    • Vinblastine (Velban®)

Other serious complications of IV infiltration/extravasation include:

  • Severe scarring where the medication makes contact with the skin
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Severe burns, where healing may require skin grafting
  • Skin ulceration or blistering
  • Amputation of the affected area
  • Impaired or diminished use of an affected extremity

What is the standard of medical care for IV care? Every patient has an expectation that their doctors, nurses and medical facilities will provide the highest level of care during every procedure. When a substandard level of care causes serious injuries, the medical staff and facility can be held legally accountable for their neglect. Your attorney for medical malpractice will be well-versed on what the laws of your area require, but here is a general overview of the standard of medical care to avoid complications for IVs:

  • Health care providers must take steps to protect the patient from injuries related to IV infiltration complications.
  • To minimize the risk of complications, the medical staff is required to monitor the patient continuously to detect or identify any signs of IV infiltration/extravasation.

What are the common consequences of IV therapy accidents? IV therapy accidents are usually caused by negligence or medical malpractice that could produce devastating, lifelong consequences. If you or a loved one has experienced this kind of problem, you may need the assistance of an attorney for medical malpractice.

Following is a list of some of serious medical complications that can result from IV mistakes and negligence:

  • Tissue Necrosis
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Air Embolism
  • Overloading fluids
  • Loss of limb function at the affected site
  • Nerve damage
  • Permanent or long-lasting neurological disorder
  • Necrotic tissue-associated amputation
  • Spinal cord injury including quadriplegia or paraplegia
  • Serious punctures causing vein ruptures or permanent damage to veins and arteries
  • IV therapy delivering the wrong medication or overmedication
  • Infection

How to prove medical malpractice in IV complication cases? An attorney for medical malpractice will guide you as to how to prove your health issues were the cause of care which fell below accepted standards in medicine. Additionally, victims will need to prove their damages, which can include a range of economic and non-economic arising from their injuries. Some examples 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

How do I choose an attorney for malpractice? You’ll want to research the attorney for malpractice to ensure that he or she has experience and demonstrated success. You can start by reviewing the website and google reviews to get a picture of the law firm’s knowledge, experience and client relations.

If you or a family member has suffered from IV infiltration or extravasation, you may be entitled to compensation related to your damages. Call Bonner Law at 1-800-4MEDMAL or visit our page for a free consultation.

Michael P. Bonner is an attorney for medical malpractice with over 30 years of experience in representing patients and healthcare providers in medical malpractice litigation.

Get started today with a free consultation.