15 Jan 2018
What is an extravasation injury? It is when the fluid being infused into your body via an IV drip (cannula) in your vein, usually in your hand/arm escapes into surrounding tissue, instead of remaining in the vein as it is supposed to. Some commonly used medicines, such as antibiotics, can be dangerous when they escape from the drip or the vein.
The problems caused by an extravasation injury can vary from blisters or minor scarring, to a severe chemical burn which can even cause the cells or tissue to die. We have had cases where extensive skin grafting was required following an extravasation injury to the forearm where the drug leaked into surrounding tissue and caused a chemical burn. Even IV saline solution, which one would think would be virtually harmless, can cause mechanical failure in the structures of the hand if not treated promptly and properly.
Sometimes the cannula is inserted incorrectly, which can cause the extravasation injury. Of course, not all extravasation injuries are negligently caused – there is the potential for problems at any time a foreign object (ie a cannula) is introduced into the body. With proper and regular monitoring of a cannula site, risk are minimal. Hospitals usually have protocols/procedures in place for cannulated patients which it is intended that medical staff follow. It is when these protocols/procedures are not strictly followed that problems arise. It is therefore usually the treatment of the extravasation when discovered which is the of the most importance.
We have a register of experts on hand whom we can approach to comment upon the standard of care you received whilst in hospital.
If you have recently suffered with unexpected skin/nerve/tissue damage at an IV drip site, you may well have a valid claim in medical negligence. If you feel you have suffered as a result so don’t delay – telephone and speak to one of our clinical negligence team today.on 01633 244233.
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