When you need medication infusions, you want to ensure that your caregiver follows the best practices to ensure that you stay as safe as possible. These medications must be given safely and efficiently, whether for chemotherapy treatments or just vitamins.
Some infusions are given via a peripheral vein (needle in the arm), while others can be administered via a central line (a needle in a large vein). Nurses and doctors must know how to use these methods and maintain sterility when preparing them correctly. Many states have regulations on properly administering medications and what safety standards should be met. Unfortunately, many violations occur when it comes to this process.
What is IV Infusion
IV infusion is the process of administering fluids, medications, or blood products through a needle or catheter directly into a vein. IV infusion is to provide hydration, deliver drugs or blood products, and correct electrolyte imbalances. It must be done properly if you are undergoing this procedure at home or in a hospital setting. IV therapy is not just meant for hospitalized patients since some do it at home.
The needlestick injury rate for intravenous therapy ranges between 20.9 – 22%. You can reduce these risks by choosing well-trained professionals who follow established safety guidelines during treatment sessions.
What are Safe Practices When Giving an IV Infusions?
Many safety standards must be followed to ensure this therapy is administered correctly and safely. Any intravenous team member needs to know these regulations before beginning work with an intravenous infusion. Here are just a few of the most important:
Double-check the placement site
Since it is essential to administer the medication at the proper place, it’s critical to check the IV site before and after administering.
Check for air bubbles
Air bubbles can lead to severe consequences such as compartment syndrome or nerve damage, so you should always keep an eye out for them before administration.
Follow proper administration rates
The rate of administration varies depending on the drug given. Still, it should never exceed 10 milliliters per minute when given through an arterial line or more than 50 milliliters per minute through a peripheral line.
Ensure there are no kinks in the tubing
When using a catheter, you need to ensure there aren’t any kinks in the tubing that may cause clots or embolisms.
Monitor for phlebitis
If injecting into a vein close to the skin, monitor for phlebitis, which will show up as redness and pain around the injection site. If this occurs, don’t use that vein until the symptoms disappear.
Maintain sterile technique
Using sterile gloves, syringes, needles, drugs, and dressings is necessary to avoid contamination during injections.
Observe needle insertion depth
Never inject medications deeper than 2 inches.
Violations Resulting from Improper Administration of an IV Solution
IV infiltration complications can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening consequences. These complications can include:
Peripheral iv catheter failure:
A peripheral intravenous catheter is used when there is limited access to veins, such as on an arm, hand, or foot. When a peripheral iv catheter fails, it can be excruciating and potentially dangerous. This is because the line gets dislodged from the vein, causing excess pressure and pain.
An adverse allergic reaction may result from using a solution containing substances the body deems dangerous.
A blood clot in the vein:
This could happen when the IV insertion goes too deep into the vein or when fluids are injected too quickly, leading to venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Damage to veins:
The injection of fluids too quickly can damage the vein lining, leading to inflammation or infection. It could lead to serious injuries like hindering normal venous blood flow and may necessitate immediate surgical intervention.
Increased pain after treatment could be due to swelling or irritation, which usually lasts one day but could last up to two weeks depending on how much damage was done.
Infection occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream through punctures or cuts in surrounding tissue where the IV fluid enters the body.
Laws Applicable to Medical Providers
Laws apply to medical providers who might be negligent in violating these standards. Some of these laws on medical malpractice may include:
Reasonable Care and Skill
This is usually determined by comparing other physicians’ approaches to working with your physician. If another provider’s work is more effective than that of your physician, then it may be argued that their service was not up to standard. It’s not to say that they did not do their job well enough, but that they did not provide reasonable care and skill compared to others. However, this standard is subject to change as new evidence becomes available.
This standard states that a provider must act as a reasonable person would have acted under similar circumstances. If your physician has failed to follow standard procedures that result in harm, they may be liable for failing to exercise due care.
Standard of Care
“Standard of care” refers to how the community views what a reasonable health professional should know and do when providing services.
Patient’s Actual Knowledge About Procedure
The patient’s knowledge of their condition will determine whether or not the physician breached the duty of disclosure.
In most cases, patients give informed consent for treatment only after being told about the risks involved with treatments, including side effects and serious complications. Therefore, if a patient knows about all possible risks of treatment and still chooses to undergo it, the physician will not be held liable for breaching their duty of disclosure. But if a doctor does not inform their patient of any possible risks, they could be held accountable.
Although it is not always easy to tell if a medical provider violates the safety standards in IV infusion, it is important to be aware of the potential risks. If you feel your doctor or nurse has violated any safety standards in IV infusion, speak up because you could be due compensation for any damages incurred.
Frischman & Rizza can help patients & their families get justice if they fall victim to IV infusion malpractice.
Call our office today at (412) 291-9377 for more information about how we can help with an investigation or legal claim.