IV insertion is one of the most common procedures performed at hospitals around the world. Although it involves putting a foreign object into the body, doctors, nurses, and healthcare technicians perform this routine procedure every day. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that as many as one billion peripheral IVs are inserted annually worldwide.

The mechanics of a peripheral IV are simple. A thin plastic tube is connected at one end to a bag or container of fluid or medication to be delivered to the patient. A catheter is inserted into the patient’s vein at the other end of the tube. Once inserted, the tube and catheter allow for the transfer of medicines or other fluids to the patient.

IV Infiltrations Are a Common Problem

When IVs are inserted correctly into the patient’s veins, the patient experiences little to no pain. Long-term effects and consequences of a peripheral IV performed properly are exceedingly rare. However, when the procedure is rushed or when the person performing it does not pay proper attention, IV infiltration can result.

IV infiltration describes what happens when the medication or fluid being delivered through the IV escapes from your vein and leaks into the surrounding tissue instead. The most frequent cause of this issue is an improper insertion of the catheter into the vein. Some estimates suggest that between 10 and 20% of peripheral IVs result in IV infiltration.

Consequences of IV Infiltration Can Be Painful and Dire

Some of the initial signs of an IV infiltration will be pain and swelling around the IV insertion site. You might also notice that any bandages or dressings around the IV site are wet. 

It is the duty of your medical team to watch for and address an IV infiltration quickly. The sooner action is taken to correct an IV infiltration, the less likely you are to experience serious or long-lasting complications.

Nerve Damage

Both the initial insertion of the catheter and the leaking of medication in an IV infiltration can damage the nerves around the IV site. This might result in an initial tingling sensation, but permanent nerve damage can lead to a complete loss of feeling in the area. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may lose the ability to use that part of your body.


Beyond a burning sensation, an IV infiltration can cause chemical burns to the tissues into which the medication leaks. This can lead to blisters and the death of skin and other tissue in the area. Surgery may be needed to treat the damage you sustain, but such measures may still be unable to undo any harm that is especially severe.


In some cases, the burns and tissue damage may be extremely severe. In these instances, the only way to prevent further damage to the surrounding tissue is to amputate the affected part. 

While this extreme measure may be necessary to save your life, it can leave you with deep and long-lasting emotional and mental scars. You will also likely experience some difficulty in returning to your home and work routines.

Peripheral IV insertion is an extremely common procedure. As a result, if you experience pain or other unusual symptoms as a result of the insertion, it could be a sign of malpractice or carelessness. 

If so, you could have legal rights, including the right to seek compensation from the professional who caused your injuries. Understanding how severely you have been hurt and the individuals whose errors led to your injury are both key to obtaining the financial damages you deserve.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm For Help Today

If you or a close one have suffered from medical malpractice in Atlanta, GA, please call Malone Law at (770) 390-7550 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Malone Law
2 Ravinia Dr NE
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30346