Can You File a Medical Malpractice Claim for Negligent IV Infiltration?

By Greg Kohn

When you sustain injury because of a negligent IV infiltration in a hospital or other medical facility, you might be able to recover compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim. Talking to a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney is the best way to know whether you have a claim. 

What is IV Infiltration?

Intravenous (IV) administration of fluids, blood, medications, and nutrition are common health care procedures. In some cases, patients have IV treatment at home. The fluid is administered directly into the vein using a needle and catheter. IV therapy is the quickest way to deliver products to the bloodstream.

The procedure is simple. The nurse or technician places a needle in the patient’s vein. A plastic catheter slides into place over the needle before removing the needle. A tube is connected to the catheter to deliver the fluid. 

IV infiltration or intravenous infiltration occurs when the catheter goes through the vein or slips out of the vein. Instead of going into the vein, the fluid leaks into the surrounding tissue. The result may be swelling, burning, blisters, sores, and pain. In some cases, medications could cause tissue and skin to die (necrosis). 

Complications from IV infiltration may include permanent nerve damage. Vein ruptures and serious infections may also occur. In severe cases, the person could experience decreased use of the affected extremity or sustain a surgical amputation.

Failing to Provide an Acceptable Standard of Care

Medical professionals have a duty to provide care that meets or exceeds the accepted standard of care. When administering IV liquids, the standard of care would include taking steps to avoid injuries and complications. For example:

  • Using the correct size needle and catheter
  • Correctly inserting the needle into the vein
  • Monitoring the patient and the IV sites for signs of IV infiltration 
  • Following procedures for IV treatment 
  • Puncturing the vein with the needle from too many attempts at the same site

Closely monitoring the patient is critical. Early detection of IV infiltration can reduce the risk of permanent damage. 

Proving Medical Malpractice for IV Infiltration 

When a medical provider fails to meet the standard of care and the patient is injured, the medical provider could be guilty of medical malpractice. The legal elements you must prove to establish medical malpractice are:

  • The medical provider owed the patient a duty of care 
  • The medical provider breached the duty of care 
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the patient’s injury
  • The patient sustained damages because of the breach of duty

The breach of duty is the failure to provide the accepted standard of care for a situation. The parties hire medical experts to testify about the standard of care that should have been used and how the medical provider failed to meet that standard of care. The medical expert also explains how the provider’s conduct caused the patient’s injuries. 

If you win your medical malpractice case, you could recover damages for economic damages, including lost income and medical bills. In addition, you may also receive compensation for your pain and suffering (non-economic damages).

Contact Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation 

Negligent IV infiltration can cause severe injuries and long-term complications and impairments. Call our law office to schedule a free consultation with our New Jersey personal injury attorney. You deserve fair compensation for your injuries and damages. 

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.