As you know, there are approximately 600,000 Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Dialysis in the United States, according to the Cleveland Clinic. What you may be less familiar with is that "about 1 in 5 Dialysis patients die every year in this country, and many of these deaths are preventable," suggested Personal Injury Lawyer, Mike Ferrara (The Ferrara Law Firm).
One (1) type of preventable death is dislodgement of a patient's Dialysis needles during their treatment. You may think to yourself, "That never would happen. Ensuring needles are safely placed in a patient's Fistula is the most fundamental part of Hemodialysis!" While this general idea is understandable, it is not correct.
Recommended Reading: Skipping and Shortening Dialysis Treatment: A Chronic Kidney Patient Perspective
In 2007, a Renal Physicians Association safety survey found that it wasn't uncommon for a patient's Dialysis needle to dislodge during treatment. Five percent (5%) of the patients responding to the safety survey reported that they had experienced their needles becoming dislodged during the prior three months.
Barbara Scott of Poughkeepsie New York is a real-life patient whose needle became dislodged while she was taking a nap during her Dialysis treatment. Her blanket covered her Dialysis arm, and more than a quarter (1/4) of her blood pooled beneath her and spilled onto the floor instead of flowing back into her body. "She barely managed to call for help before losing consciousness," reported Propublica.org.
Ms. Scott never really recovered. After being rushed to the hospital in shock she stayed for more than 3 weeks. When she finally went home, she was frail, grew gaunt, and sadly died of heart failure soon after. She is not alone. While Dialyzing at the Cleveland Clinic, Kathryn Stevens' line became disconnected. Her Patient Care Technicians did not recognize this until she fell from her chair, unconscious due to blood loss. Stevens suffered brain damage and was unable to speak or eat until passing away from an infection just five months later.
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Many patients are not aware of the high risk and seriousness of needle dislodgement during Dialysis treatments. What can you do? First, make sure that your needles, at least seem secure when being placed on your Dialysis Machine. If not, ask your Patient Care Technician to double check their security. Also, ensure that the needles and tubes are visibly connected to your arm. Do not block your Patient Care Technician or Nurses' view by covering them with your blanket, shirt or any other items. KidneyBuzz.com also urges Dialysis patients to be as alert and vigilant as possible by periodically checking to see if a needle dislodges during treatment and avoid the deadly risk.
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Most Popular Stories:
"When Needles Dislodge, Dialysis Can Turn Deadly." Http://www.propublica.org/. Propublica.
"Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog." Dialysis Malpractice & The Dangers of Dislodged Needles. Boston Personal Injury Attorney.
"Dialysis Dangers – A Dislodged Needle Can Quickly Turn Fatal." Http://cherryhill.legalexaminer.com. Cherry Hill New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer.
"Undetected Venous Line Needle Dislodgment during Hemodialysis." Http://www.mdsr.ecri.org/. ECRI Institute.