IV Injury

An IV injury can have a severe impact on your quality of life. The improper placement of an IV can result in a variety of injuries, including infection, phlebitis, extravasation, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). If you have been burdened with unexpected medical expenses or are now unable to maintain employment because of an IV injury, you can seek damages from the negligent party. Victims of medical malpractice have legal rights, and Locks Law Firm can help ensure that these rights are protected.  If you or someone you love has suffered an IV injury, including CRPS, arrange a free consultation with Locks Law Firm today. We can discuss the details of your case with you, determine your eligibility to file a claim, and recommend a course of action. Should you have a viable case, we will pursue fair and just compensation on your behalf.


Once referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), CRPS often occurs as a result of a healthcare professional incorrectly administering an IV, causing nerve damage. If a nurse inserts an IV directly into an area of flexion, such as the wrist or elbow crease (antecubital fossa), the patient is at much greater risk of nerve injury. If a nerve is struck during the insertion of an IV, it may result in the patient experiencing an electric shock sensation. If the patient reports this sensation, the IV should be taken out immediately.

Any needlestick or IV injury can possibly result in CRPS. Patients who suffer CRPS are normally afflicted with a lifelong condition of severe unrelenting pain. In many instances, they are unable to maintain employment and experience limited use of the affected limb. Their lives frequently become a picture of pure misery.


If IV fluid finds its way into the tissue surrounding the vein, either as a result of improper placement or due to overmedication of the patient, it can result in a coolness and pallor to the skin, swelling, or an edema (the collection of fluids in a body cavity). IV infiltration is one of the most common types of IV injury. If the medication is not in the appropriate pH range and is too acidic, it can cause burn injury to the affected tissues (extravasation). In infiltration/extravasation cases, injury can be severe and permanent.


An air embolism is when a significant amount of air (approximately 30cc or 1 ounce) is allowed to enter the vascular system. This air will be pushed through the vessels with the natural flow of blood until it reaches the heart. In the heart, the air can prevent the blood from leaving and going on to the lungs where it receives oxygen. As long as this obstruction remains, the blood will not be able to be released from the heart to go to the lungs. This causes the heart and lungs to work harder and can lead to a heart attack or damage to the lungs, and can result in death if it is not resolved quickly.

The complication is more likely associated with a central intravenous catheter, especially those placed in the chest, but can occur with any intravenous catheter. If you have suffered IV injury, such as an embolism or CRPS, you should seek legal counsel.


Inflammation of the vein due to infection, the presence of the IV itself, adverse reaction to medication, bacteria, or other causes is known as phlebitis. In such cases, the IV should be removed and re-inserted at a different site, typically on a separate extremity. If phlebitis recurs in the same area, it can eventually lead to the development of scar tissue and become sclerotic, or rigid and unresponsive. It can also lead to even more severe conditions, such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).


Though rare, intravenous injections can result in hypothermia. As fluid is being administered directly into the bloodstream, it is extremely important that it be at the proper temperature. The average blood temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If large amounts of a cold fluid are directed into the bloodstream, it can result in a dangerous drop in body temperature, which can result in hypothermia or ventricular fibrillation, which is an uncontrolled spasm of the heart muscles. If a defibrillator isn't employed in a timely manner, this condition can lead to cardiac arrest.


There are standards for the placement of IV injections. If a healthcare professional failed to abide by these standards and caused an IV injury, he, she, or their employer can be held liable. Though many IV injuries are temporary, others have lifelong effects that can severely impact a person's quality of life. Patients who suffer CRPS are often unable to work and may experience permanent loss of the affected limb. In such cases, it is important to hold the negligent parties accountable, not only to compensate the victim, but also to ensure that such carelessness doesn't afflict somebody else. To arrange a consultation regarding your IV injury or that of a family member, contact Locks Law Firm today.

Do I have a case? Free Case Evaluation