PICC Lines Can Cause Infections and Injuries If Not Placed Properly
Gregg Hollander | August 25, 2023 | Medical Malpractice
PICC lines are similar to IV lines, but they’re intended for long-term use. Unfortunately, many patients have found that an improperly placed PICC line brings a high risk for injury and infection. If you or a loved one have had medical treatment that involved the use of a PICC line, you should be aware of the most common PICC line injuries.
Effective medical care is meant to support patient healing — not lead to further health problems. If you’ve sustained a PICC line injury, a medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for your damages.
What Are PICC Lines?
PICC lines, also known as peripherally inserted central catheters, are often used in long-term medical treatment. They serve the same purpose as an IV, delivering fluids directly into a patient’s bloodstream.
The key difference between PICC lines and IVs is that a PICC line is inserted into a peripheral vein. These are larger veins that run down the side of the arm. Placing the PICC line into a larger vein allows for the line to be kept in place for months without being changed.
IV lines must be changed every three to four days. Using a PICC line instead can be more convenient for long-term care and aid patient comfort. However, the doctor or nurse responsible for placing the PICC line must monitor the insertion site. Failure to notice a PICC line injury can lead to serious health complications.
Common PICC Line Injuries
PICC lines bring the risk of several serious health conditions.
Some of the most common health risks associated with PICC line injury include the following:
- Air embolism
- Nerve injury
- Misplaced catheter
- Catheter migration
PICC line injuries always bring the risk of serious illness. Some injuries related to PICC line usage, such as an air embolism, can result in a patient’s death. PICC lines are typically used for those with chronic illnesses. For example, PICC lines are often used in nursing homes and in chemotherapy treatment.
A patient in need of medical treatment involving a PICC line is at a much higher risk of having a compromised immune system. This means that a PICC line injury can do serious damage to a patient already struggling with serious health concerns.
Signs of a PICC Line Infection
If you or a loved one require medical care that involves the use of a PICC line, you should know the most common signs of a PICC line injury. Healthcare providers don’t always admit when they’ve made an error, which means it can be difficult to hold them accountable for the harm they cause.
Some of the most common signs of a PICC line injury or infection are:
- High fever (104℉ or higher)
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty moving
- Muscle stiffness
- Swelling at the insertion site
- Redness or pain at the insertion site
- Vein hardening
- Blood clots (thrombosis)
These signs can all indicate complications related to the PICC insertion site. If you suspect something is wrong with a PICC line, you should immediately ask to have the PICC line inspected by your doctor.
Injured By a PICC Line? Get Help Today
PICC lines are intended to aid in patient healing. Unfortunately, they sometimes have the opposite effect. The damage that comes from a PICC line injury can seriously impact a patient’s health, even leading to death in extreme cases.
If you’ve suffered a PICC line injury, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer right away. A lawyer can help you file a medical malpractice claim seeking compensation for medical expenses related to PICC line complications.
PICC line injuries can come with a high cost. Fortunately, a lawyer can help ensure that you’re not the one who pays for a healthcare provider’s oversight.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
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