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Why even a common IV is a matter of patient safety

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Apr 27, 2015 8:30:11 AM

It is the unfortunate truth that even the simplest medical procedures can pose a risk to patient safety if they are not approached correctly. Certainly, a staggering number of patients experience harm only after a surgeon missteps during a complex procedure or a physician incorrectly diagnoses a patient’s medical condition. However, others experience harm “simply” by being given the incorrect medication or having a piece of their medical records misplaced.

In addition, millions of Americans risk harm every day due to the common IV devices that are placed in their arms or hands. These devices are used to deliver fluids and medications. They are also used to easily draw blood from patients who are receiving fluids or medications. These devices are used in hospitals, emergency departments, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes nationwide.

According to a medical team based at the prestigious University of Michigan Medical School, if these devices are not approached correctly, they can place patients at an elevated risk for potentially injurious or fatal blood clots.

As one of the corresponding authors of the team’s research recently explained, “These devices are very popular, but in an under-the-radar way, because they make care more convenient and can be placed relatively easily. But our new results, and review of research on the topic, show it’s important for physicians to think hard about both the risks and the benefits.”

According to the team, the blood clot risk caused by certain IV devices places specific patients at a much higher risk of suffering dangerous blood clots than other patients. In these cases, it is important for physicians to consider outfitting these patients with a less risky means of delivering fluids and medications.

Source: The University Record, “Serious risks from common IV devices mean doctors should choose carefully,” Kara Gavin, March 27, 2015

Topics: Medical Malpractice

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