Many people have experienced being stuck in the arm with a catheter (or needle) in order that a health care provider can administer needed fluids, antibiotics, etc. Pretty simple process right? Not always as this report from Minnesota shows us in great detail.
The patient was 55 years old and was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She alleged that, while a patient in the ICU, the nursing staff failed to assess the infiltration of an IV (intravenous) line in her arm, which caused swelling and pain in her arm and hand. Ultimately, the patient’s right arm and hand lost circulation for over 8 hours, became necrotic, died, and ultimately required a mid-forearm amputation. The case was tried before a jury which found the nursing staff negligent and awarded the patient $450,000.
If you are hospitalized and an IV line is placed, watch closely for swelling and discoloration of the area around the catheter. Infiltration injuries occur when the tip of the catheter is outside of the vein and the solution being administered is being forced into the soft tissue and muscle and not into the vein as designed.