Thousands of patients are dying from incorrect use of IV drips, warns Nice.
They go on to say (source, the Guardian, today), that “Patients’ lives are being put at risk by an “astonishing” lack of knowledge surrounding the correct administration of intravenous (IV) drips in hospitals in England and Wales…”
I’m not surprised.
During my recent 10-day stint in hospital, I was on the receiving end of i-v Vancomycin, an antibiotic, at the rate of 250ml 3 (or 4 – there seemed to be some uncertainty), times a day for a week.
This was screwed up so often that I wound up with not a single useable vein left in my hands or arms. Most have now recovered, to a greater or lesser degree (though I won’t know for sure if they have until the next time someone tries to get blood), though one remains blocked.
The thing is, though, nobody had the slightest idea of the timing for delivery of the i-v, which ranged from 20 minutes (painful), to an extremely trying 2 hours (being shackled to an i-v when also suffering from diarrhoea is not fun, especially when witless staff put the i-v stand on the opposite side of the room to the commode!).
In the end, mainly because of the damage to my veins, I called a halt, refusing any more i-vs and restricting the taking of blood to one attempt – which invariably failed.
It seems, based on what NICE say, that I had a lucky escape. Rest assured that, should I be unlucky enough to be admitted to hospital again, the administration of i-v drugs will not be permitted. That decision is partly based on this report, which just reinforces my original gut feeling that the buggers hadn’t the remotest idea what the hell they were doing, and just making it up as they went along, to my considerable detriment.