Whether you are in Billings or any other city in the country, patients in hospitals everywhere receive IVs as part of their medical treatment. While such procedures are relatively routine, the slightest error in preparing or inserting an IV can lead to severe, life-threatening injuries. Readers in Montana may be interested to hear of one such patient who says she suffered a grave injury due to the negligent insertion of an IV into her arm.

The woman alleges the IV was tainted with bacteria associated with strep throat. Because of this, she says she contracted a rare blood disease which has caused her pain and suffering in the amount of $800,000, which she is seeking as compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

After going to the hospital for treatment related to a partial bowel obstruction, the plaintiff in the case was given an intravenous catheter in her arm. Nurses and medical staff administered fluids using the IV. When the IV was removed, the patient was discharged from the hospital, and that is when her arm, according to the complaint, “became severely red, tender, and swollen at her IV site.”

The woman was re-admitted to the hospital, where blood cultures taken from her tested positive for streptococcus pyrogenes, the bacteria associated with strep throat. Due to the infection, the patient underwent an array of other procedures. Her complaint names a number of hospital staff members and claims the hospital failed in its duty to provide a clean environment and the appropriate standard of care.

Hospitals in Montana and throughout the nation have a fundamental duty to each and every patient to provide a safe and clean area that isn’t likely to spread life-threatening bacteria. Every time a hospital staff member attaches an IV to a patient’s arm, there is a risk the patient will encounter a number of dangerous diseases, with symptoms ranging from painful to deadly. It is therefore crucial for hospital staff to take great care in making sure the premises and medical equipment are as safe as possible, minimizing the risk of painful injuries.

Source: nydaily.com, “Woman sues hospital over blood infection,” Alex Bridges, April 7, 2012