Blood Draw Injuries in Laboratories
When a doctor orders a blood test, the patient often goes to Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp or the hospital’s lab for a blood draw called a venipuncture. Venipuncture is an invasive procedure which must be performed with care. The person who performs the blood draw is called a phlebotomist. There are many well trained and experienced phlebotomists who have performed thousands of blood draws without incident. However, if the technique is incorrectly performed, the patient can sustain injuries, termed “needlestick injuries.” Unfortunately, some phlebotomists are poorly trained, inexperienced or may rush through a procedure. This is when complications ensue. Poor techniques include probing, improper angle of insertion and insertion too deeply. Thousands of blood draws are performed every day. Even when a small percentage of them are performed incorrectly, thousands of people are injured every year by blood draws performed incorrectly. Our blood draw injury lawyers can represent people who have been injured by blood draws or “needlesticks,” and who have legal rights to pursue compensation for their injuries.
Needlestick injuries sustained during a negligently performed blood draw include:
- Extensive bruising. This can occur due to internal bleeding caused by perforation of the lower wall of the vein when the needle penetrates clear through the vessel. A hematoma may form. Compression nerve injuries can occur where a hematoma forms and puts pressure on nerves. Complications include loss of mobility and/or strength in the arm or hand, and chronic pain.
- Nerve damage. This can be caused by the needle penetrating a nerve. Damage to a nerve can result from incorrect site selection. For example, if the underside of the wrist is used, the radial or ulnar nerve may be hit. Nerve damage is manifested by pain, burning, tingling sensation and weakness; and depending on severity could be temporary or permanent. If a patient experiences intense pain and burning and the phlebotomist fails to immediately remove the needle, such failure can increase a nerve injury’s severity.
- The first choice for venipuncture is the median antecubital vein located in the area of the arm in front of the elbow. At this site, the potential for errors is low. In contrast, draws from the foot veins present the risk of complications, especially for diabetic patients. A patient may be prone to clot formation or wounds that fail to heal. Infection could result in necrosis, gangrene and even amputation.
- Arterial nick. If the phlebotomist uses what is termed, a “no draw area,” the risk of complications include not only nerve damage, but also laceration of an artery. This can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
- Hitting bone. If the phlebotomist uses the toes or center back of the heel of an infant, there is a risk of hitting bone. Such punctures can result in osteomyelitis or osteochondritis. Moreover, if the draw site comes in contact with feces from a soiled diaper, infection could result.
- This is a risk for patients on blood thinners. Prolonged bleeding may result in blood running from the site. Patients have fainted in shock upon seeing the blood and may suffer injury in the fall. The phlebotomist may fail to respond to a patient feeling shaky or dizzy.
Attorneys Recovering Compensation for Blood Draw Needlestick Injuries
Injuries resulting from a failure to follow the standard of care can form the basis of a lawsuit alleging negligence. Compensatory damages may be available for noneconomic damage such as pain and suffering as well as compensation for medical bills and lost time from work. Our blood draw injury and needlestick attorneys have experience representing clients in these cases. If you, a family member or a friend have been injured, or if you simply have questions about blood draw injuries, contact us now at 410 583 8000 or use our Quick Contact Form. All consultations are free, and our fees are paid out of the compensation that we achieve for our clients. We never ask our clients to pay for expenses in injury cases.