IV Infiltration Can Cause Nerve Damage, Burns, or Amputation

Medicines that are delivered through an intravenous catheter (IV) can sometimes be life-saving. No one expects to incur the kinds of serious complications that could lead to amputation from an IV, but it is a possibility. 

IV infiltration is defined as the leaking of IV fluids into surrounding tissues. This can occur when an IV catheter is placed improperly, an incorrect catheter size is used, or the patient accidentally dislodges the catheter while moving around. 

It is the responsibility of a nurse to check the IV site frequently and watch for warning signs of infiltration. If the nurse notices any signs, they should take proper steps immediately. 

Signs and Symptoms of IV Infiltration

Nursing and other medical staff know it’s important to regularly check an IV for signs of infiltration. Indications of infiltration are easily identifiable by sight. However, knowing the warning signs yourself will help you safeguard your health. 

The signs of IV infiltration include:

  • A slow or stopped infusion
  • Skin feels cold and clammy around the IV site
  • Skin blanching
  • Redness around the IV site
  • Wet bandages around the IV needle
  • Skin tautness or swelling around the insertion site
  • Pain around the IV site

If you notice any of these signs, let your medical practitioner know as soon as possible. Failure to notice or care for IV infiltration could be medical negligence. 

Potential Complications Resulting From IV Infiltration

If left untreated, IV infiltration can cause more than just temporary discomfort. Some medications can cause skin burns and lead to a serious infection. 

Other potential complications of IV infiltration include:

  • Vein rupture
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Skin damage, including blisters, ulcers, sores, and scars
  • Reduced functionality of the affected limb
  • Amputation of the affected limb
  • Errors in medication dosing

A complication known as compartment syndrome may also occur. Compartment syndrome is a serious medical issue that can require emergency surgery. All of the complications could also result in a delay in the original treatment, leading to other problems that could threaten long-term health. 

Proper medical care can prevent these complications. It is the obligation of nurses and other medical practitioners to uphold a high standard of care for all procedures, no matter how routine. The correct catheter selection, proper insertion, regular monitoring, and adherence to all safety protocols could prevent IV infiltration and the serious complications that may follow. 

Even milder complications of IV infiltration can require a person to take time off from work. Being watchful for signs of further complications, such as red streaks in the skin, fluid leakage, or swelling that continues to get worse, can be stressful. 

Everyone makes mistakes, but when a medical professional makes a mistake that causes pain or suffering, they should be held accountable. You or a loved one may have a valid Chicago medical malpractice claim if you’ve suffered damages from IV infiltration. 

A natural first instinct is to reach out to the doctor, nurse, or hospital you believe is responsible for the neglect that led to IV infiltration. According to the National Law Review, contacting the involved medical professional on your own is not advised.

There are strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases — they may differ from the deadlines for other types of personal injury or wrongful death claims. Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after the event is the best course of action. Also, avoid talking about the experience online, as social media posts could be used against you in court.

Contact the Chicago Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today

For more information, please contact the experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys today. We offer free consultations.

We proudly serve Cook County, Will County, Kendall County, and its surrounding areas:

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Chicago Office
10 S La Salle St STE 1230, Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-1616

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Joliet Office
195 Springfield Ave, Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 726-1616