A Cautionary Tale

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BethW
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 6/26/2011 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   
This is and isn't pain related, but it could be important for anyone who has to have an IV.

Last week (6/15), I had surgery to have my thyroid removed. (Good thing- they did find a very small spot of cancer.) After the surgery, I was sent up to the floor to spend the night. A nurse came and flushed my IV. She blew the vein (through incompetence, IMO, not a "well, that just happens sometimes" kind of thing). She then left the IV in that hand for over a half hour and only had it changed after I complained repeatedly. My hand and arm were swollen and uncomfortable, but I was on more pain meds, so I didn't really care. They let me go home the next day, saying that the swelling and discoloration in my arm would go away soon.

I was off my post-op pain meds by 6/18, and I immediately noticed the pain in my arm. I called my surgeon on the 20th, and he feared cellulitis, so he prescribed more antibiotics. On the 21st, my dad convinced me to go to my primary doctor (for some eyes-on). I am SO glad I did. She didn't think it was anything, but she sent me for a doppler ultrasound, just in case. The doppler tech showed me the three clots I have in my arm (2 superficial, one DVT). I was immediately sent to the ER, where they did a CT(PE), which was clean. I spent 2 days in the hospital while they monitored me, and I was sent home on Lovenox and Coumadin. I saw a hematologist on the 24th, who had an optimistic outlook about my prognosis, but seemed to agree that the blown vein and the extra time the IV was in caused the DVT. 4-6 months of blood thinners, and I should be good as new.

So... learn from my experience... speak up!! I had no way of keeping nurse was doing a 10cc push (instead of the 2-3cc slow flush that she should have done), but I could have demanded that she change out the IV sooner. I could have demanded to see the patient care rep or charge nurse right away. I could have complained about my arm pain and asked for a dr to look at it before they discharged me the first time. I asked another nurse, and she said that it would just take time for the extra fluid to be absorbed and not to worry about it. I should have complained.

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 6/26/2011 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Beth,

Thanks for sharing your story w/ us.... I'm so sorry you went through all of that.
 
I could write several of these posts myself.  From nurses not listening to me when I've told them the IV had blown (and then my arm swelling up and all of that)..... to me telling them that none of the veins in my AC work - and them still insist of trying (I don't let them do this anymore). 
 
Now, I just show them the 2 or 3 places that they might be able to get an IV.... I give them a couple of tries.... and then it's straight to my neck or getting a PICC line.  One day - I'll get a port... but it's just another thing I'm trying to put off. 
 
Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience.
 
--Tina

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 6/26/2011 9:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Beth,
I'm so very sorry the nurse made you go thru that "hell", but I'm glad your pcp had
you go for the ultra sound...I'm glad your okay...many well wishes to you on that...

Thanks for your story, it easy to say okay rather than to admit something went wrong,
I hope you don't place any blame on yourself (with the shoulda, woulda, coulda) for this...stay strong...

Hope your feeling better each day, prayers and well wishes to you...

If you can, consider filing a written complaint to the hospital...
**********************************************
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...
********>^..^<********>^..^<*******

Chutz
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9255
   Posted 6/26/2011 10:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Beth,

Your story will likely save lives by sharing it. Your situation was unethical at best and borders on unforgivable and malpractice but your story, especially your suggestions at the end are splendid!

Every hospital has patient representatives. All you need to do is ask to have one come to your room to talk. If you are in the hospital for only a day they most often come to visit, ask if there is anything you need or have questions about or in any other way how they can help you. This is the prime person to call, IMHO.

I am so sorry you had to go through all of this but am also grateful to you for your courage in posting it. You are a survivor and a silent hero to many.

Chutz
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.
~~~~~
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.

Gemsi
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1050
   Posted 6/27/2011 4:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for sharing your story w/ us.... I'm so sorry you went through all of that.
I could write several of these posts myself. From nurses not listening to me when I've told them the IV had blown (and then my arm swelling up and all of that)..... to me telling them that none of the veins in my AC work - and them still insist of trying (I don't let them do this anymore).
Now, I just show them the 2 or 3 places that they might be able to get an IV.... I give them a couple of tries.... and then it's straight to my neck or getting a PICC line. One day - I'll get a port... but it's just another thing I'm trying to put off.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience.
--Tina

Tina,
 
I have a port and I just thought I'd share my experience. It's the best thing ever. I had it put in about 6 years ago. My veins then only lasted 3 hours max with a cannula and that is still this case now (had to have a cannula a couple of times this year for ops as only trained people can use my port and there was noone else available.) It means that if I want to do home IV's I can do, without the worry of my veins collapsing as I live an hour away from the hospital. My port is siuated on the left of my chest wall, the only time it gets in the way is when I go to a theme park as I can't go on any of the rides with bars that come over my chest (my favourite type of rides :( I still wear bikinis and tops that show my scar as really there's othing for me to feel embarrased about, I would be lost without my port.
 
You also can get pass-ports which are put in the crook of your arm. I don't think they last as many years as a port does but apprently they are as easy as a regular port.
 
Beth,
 
I get very stroppy with hospital staff not doing what they should be doing, they have done a similar thing to me before and usually if they haven't come within half an hour of my arm starting to swell and hurt, I just pull out the cannula myself. They left me overnight once when I was on 24 hour fluids, they were supposed to change it about 2 hours after me going to sleep, but they never did. Woke up in the morning to another wrecked vein. Thankfully I've never had clots because of their negligence. I'm sorry to hear they made things so bad for you.
 
Gem

Hey, I'm Gem with CF, age 25 and diagnosed at 2 years old. I'm from the UK and say weird things sometimes. I'm no expert but I've lived through a lot of CF stuff.
Diagnosed with: Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma, ABPA, Clinical Depression, Mild Liver Cirrohsis, Mild Osteopenia, Erythema Nodosum. Waiting for final diagnosis on Muscular Dystrophy type thing.

Post Edited (Gemsi) : 6/27/2011 12:14:54 PM (GMT-6)

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