An IV infiltration occurs. Caustic medication leaks out of a needle into the tissues. A piece of plastic catheter floats to the heart. A patient claims that a nerve injury resulted from a blood draw.
Is it nursing malpractice? Is it a complication of IV therapy?
Learn the answers from an experienced IV therapy expert witness and author. Specific information will be provided to assist in screening an infusion case, and in identifying the crucial elements of the discovery process.
Susan Masoorli RN is president and founder of Perivascular Nurse Consultants, a company that provides infusion training and direct patient care related to the insertion and maintenance of all types of vascular access devices. Susan is an expert witness in infusion related care, and has reviewed over 200 cases in the last 18 years. She has written extensively about IV therapy.
Susan answered these questions:
- What is the difference between infiltration and extravasation?
- Which medications are particularly caustic if they leak into the tissues?
- Is an extravasation an accepted risk of IV therapy?
- What is the proper method for assessing a peripheral IV device?
- Is there a definition of frequent monitoring of the IV site?
- How does the nursing shortage with the fewer numbers of registered nurses and the increased number of nursing assistants affect monitoring of IV sites?
- What is the aftercare for infiltrations and extravasations?
- Why should heat never be applied to an extravasation?
- What kind of documentation is needed when an infiltration or extravasation occurs?
- Why are neonates and the elderly at particularly high risk for extravasation?
- Where would an expert witness, healthcare provider or attorney look for standards of care for IV therapy and vascular access devices?
- What are the most critical clinical and legal issues related to infiltration and extravasation?
- What negative outcomes are associated with infiltration and extravasation malpractice cases?
- What kind of permanent damages do they cause?
- What documents should be requested as a part of discovery for infiltration and extravasation malpractice cases?
- Is an infiltration an indication that a departure from the standards of care occurred?
- Is an extravasation an indication that a departure from the standards of care occurred?
- What safety precautions should be used to protect a patient from a fall-related injury during or after a venipuncture?
- Is nerve injury related to venipuncture a common area of malpractice?
- Is there a typical symptom a person experiences when a nerve injury has occurred?
- What does the person performing a venipuncture need to know to safely perform the procedure?
- What two areas of the hand should always be avoided when an IV is started?
- What is the primary risk of starting an IV in the inner elbow?
- Why should the femoral area be avoided for IV access?
- What is the primary risk of starting an IV in the jugular artery by mistake?
- What is the first thing a person should do if there is a sign of a nerve injury during an attempt to insert a needle into a vein?
- Is there any technology that permits visualization of the vein?
- What information do you look for in the medical record to diagnose nerve injury?
- Why are nerve injury cases often difficult for the plaintiff to win?
- Are there any effective treatments for patients who have had nerve injuries?
- A piece of IV catheter tubing can break off and travel to the heart. How does that happen?
- What should a healthcare provider do when she or he realizes the plastic has disappeared?
- Can you retrieve the plastic? What damages can it cause?
From Susan Masoorli’s chapter, “Intravenous Therapy Liability”, in Patricia Iyer, Barbara Levin, Kathleen Ashton and Victoria Powell (Editors), Nursing Malpractice, Fourth Edition, Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company
The question in many IV therapy malpractice cases is “Was the right catheter inserted into the patient?” The prescriber (physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) orders the IV medication or solution on the physician order sheet. In most cases, the type of access device is not ordered by the prescriber. The nurse reviews the IV orders and determines if a peripheral access device is appropriate based on the type of therapy, length of therapy, and the condition of the veins in the patient’s arms. If the patient is not a candidate for a peripheral access device, the nurse notifies the prescriber and asks that a central vascular access device be inserted. It is the nurse’s responsibility to safely infuse the medications/solutions through the appropriate intravenous device. There are many algorithms available on the Internet to assist in proper vascular access device selection for specific patients. There are several sources of standards of care for infusion therapy, but little evidence-based research to validate routine nursing procedures related to the care and monitoring of vascular access devices.
Falls, pressure sores and IV therapy-related events may lead to high treatment cost, prolonged suffering, and denied reimbursement for hospital care. They may even cause to the patient’s death. Healthcare providers are increasingly aware of the clinical and financial risks. Attorneys are increasingly seeing plaintiffs alleging deviations from the standard of care related to these events. These events often culminate in litigation.
Are you a legal nurse consultant, attorney or clinician? Analyzing Falls, Pressure Sore and IV Therapy Cases was written to help you understand:
- What causes these events
- What are the clinical results or damages
- How these problems are prevented
- How to analyze the liability
The text is chock full of practical wisdom, tips, explanations, and guidance for the analysis of these cases. It builds on the author’s experiences as an expert witness and legal nurse consultant since 1987.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Why Falls Happen
Chapter 2 Injuries From Falls
Chapter 3 Fall Prevention
Chapter 4 Liability for Falls
Chapter 5 Why Pressure Sores Happen
Chapter 6 Pressure Sore Injuries and Treatment
Chapter 7 Pressure Sore Prevention
Chapter 8 Liability for Pressure Sores
Chapter 9 Why Infiltration and Extravasation Happen
Chapter 10 Injuries and Treatment: Infiltration and Extravasation
Chapter 11 Prevention and Early Detection of Infiltration and Extravasation
Chapter 12 Liability for Infiltration and Extravasation
Chapter 13 Why Nerve Injuries from Venipuncture Happen
Chapter 14 Prevention and Liability Analysis of Nerve Injuries
Chapter 15 IV Catheter Embolism and Air Embolism: Causes, Treatment
Chapter 16 Liability for Air Embolism
Chapter 17 IV Catheter Sepsis
Chapter 18 Liability for IV Catheter Infections
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