Nursing Errors: A Commonplace Concern

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It is always exciting when a breakthrough occurs that fundamentally changes the way care is offered at hospitals, and a new system for administering analgesia stands to be one of those breakthroughs. A new study shows that Sufentanil, when administered by tablet, has similar outcomes to opioids administered on demand through IV.

On demand opioids have been the go-to treatment for severe pain in a hospital setting for decades, and patients consistently rate this form of treatment very highly. Being able to have control over their dosage is consistently more effective for pain management than making a patient wait for a nurse or doctor to decide a patient needs more medication. After all, only the patient themselves knows how much pain they are in at any given time.

Unfortunately, there are major potential side effects that go along with on demand IV opioids, such as respiratory depression. There is also always the risk of chemical dependence when using any painkiller of this type, and this risk remains with the new tablet form of therapy. But one of the largest risks of the current standard treatment has nothing to do with the medication itself, and everything to do with how it is administered.

Though IVs are such a commonplace part of the hospital experience that many people take them for granted, they are not without risk. Some of these risks have to do with the IV itself, but the biggest risk comes from the person administering the IV. IV infiltration is an insidious menace, because so many people aren’t even aware it exists and how devastating it can be.

The mechanism of IV infiltration is fairly simple:

  • The IV is either inserted incorrectly, missing the blood vessel, becomes dislodged due to being improperly secured, or the vein is punctured during insertion of the IV
  • The medication or fluid flows into the surrounding tissue rather than the blood vessel itself
  • This abnormal fluid build-up causes a variety of health problems, including severe edema and disruption of the circulatory system

If you or someone you love has been injured due to IV infiltration, please contact a qualified attorney. The proper insertion and maintenance of the IV is one of the most important duties of any nurse, and the only way to insure that hospitals take this issue seriously enough is to find an attorney to help you hold the hospital to account.