The IV flush syringe injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are currently evaluating financial compensation cases involving injury caused by intravenous syringes.
What Is an IV Flush Syringe?
Doctors nurses and other healthcare providers use IV flush syringes to prevent blockages in IV catheters and remove any remaining drugs or left of her blood at a catheter site. Flushing syringes are also used after drugs have been delivered through the medicine for to ensure that the patient received the entire prescription. If the healthcare professional properly places the canoe look, the use of an IV flush syringe should be painless unless there is a discomforting interaction with the medication.
Healthcare professionals will flush an intravenous line by cleaning the IV port to connect the syringe. Once the device is connected, the professional will pull the syringe plunger backward to ensure a tiny amount of blood is visible in the clear line. Once that is achieved, the professional can then begin injecting the flush solution slowly into the catheter or intravenous line before beginning the medication drips, or not. It is typically recommended to flush the line between delivery of multiple medications.
However, in October 2016, a recall was announced of Nurse Assist Normal Saline IV Flush Syringes after an outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia complex (B. cepacia) occurred. The life-threatening bacteria is actually 18 different bacterium species that causes pneumonia in individuals with compromised immune systems. In addition, those suffering from underlying lung disease and sickle cell hemoglobinopathies are also at high risk of developing serious problems. No instant test is available to determine if B. cepacia exists except the culture the bacteria taken from blood or sputum.
Who Would Use an IV Flush Syringe?
Hospitals, medical centers, and clinics often use IV flush syringe is to flush catheters and intravenous lines. In addition, these devices are often used prior to and after beginning IV medication drips or providing fluids to patients through an intravenous line. When used properly, the flushing syringe prevents blockage and allows the IV line to remain clean.
Some patients using catheters or receiving IV therapies may use an intravenous flush syringe at home after the process has been explained by a trained medical professional. These devices are handy if the intravenous line becomes blocked in the medicine or other nutrients are unable to flow to the patient normally.
Other uses for an IV flush syringe include:
- Antibiotic Delivery
- Dehydrated Individuals Requiring Replenishing Fluids
- Maintaining blood pressure
- Shock treatment
- Surgery-associated IV infusion
- Chemotherapy for cancer patients
- Pain medication delivery
- Replenishing minerals and vitamins
- Flushing the intermediate line to deliver multiple medications separately
The infectious bacteria of the blood (bacteremia) still ranks seventh as a leading cause of death in Europe and North America. Without treatment, the initial infection can easily spread and cause a life-threatening condition. Many of the common side effects associated with Burkholderia cepacia include:
- Shivering or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Elevated heart rate
- Clammy skin
If bacteremia is allowed to spread, it can easily cause sepsis, a life-threatening condition that is often challenging to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Sepsis often causes significant organ failure, tissue damage and eventually death. Other symptoms of sepsis involve acute heart attacks, pneumonia, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Air Embolism
Development of an air embolism can occur when air enters the catheter tube through an IV flush syringe before the saline solution has been used to flush the line. Blood flow that becomes blocked by air bubbles can cause air problems, stroke, or death. Others experience allergic reactions to the saline solution containing sodium chloride. However, other side effects caused by the solution used in the flush are extremely rare.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Even though Burkholderia cepacia is typically found in water and soil, it can become a deadly problem that is easily transmitted through contaminated surfaces, person-to-person contact and exposure to environmental conditions. Most individuals acquire the harmful bacteria through the use of an IV flush syringe. Individuals who are most at risk for developing an infection include:
- The elderly
- Cancer patients
- Residents of nursing homes
- Patients suffering from emphysema
- Individuals prone to developing lung infections
- Individuals with HIV
- COPD (chronic pulmonary obstructive disease) individuals
- Patients would have undergone organ transplant
- Those suffering from cystic fibrosis
Many Have Been Infected
In October 2016, the CDC announced that five state health departments have reported multiple cases of bloodstream infections involving Burkholderia cepacia complex that could be caused by the use of the Nurse Assist IV flush syringes. By January 11, 2017, the few known cases involving the deadly bacteria had grown to 164 cases occurring in 59 facilities in those states. These states included:
- Pennsylvania – Syringes tested positive for contamination verified that 30 bloodstream infection cases involving B. cepacia complex in 10 affected facilities were connected to the Nurse Assist Product. Since January 11, 2017, there have been two known deaths associated with contaminant IV flush syringes containing the deadly bacteria.
- New Jersey – There were 59 cases of Burkholderia cepacia complex occurring in 20 facilities that were reported to New Jersey health officials. The infections were found in long-term care facility patients who had received drugs through an IV central line. The state warned 43 facilities just weeks before that the potential of infection could occur.
- Maryland – Twelve cases occurring in three facilities were reported to Maryland health officials of Nurse Assist-related Burkholderia cepacia complex bloodstream infections.
- New York – The New York State Department of Health announced the investigation of 58 cases involving Burkholderia cepacia complex bloodstream infections occurring in 24 facilities that are believed to be connected to contaminated Nurse Assist IV flush syringes. The state has notified over 50 long-term health care facilities that may be using potentially contaminated syringes to take action. Since January, there have been five known deaths associated with the deadly infection in New York State.
- Delaware – Four cases of Burkholderia cepacia complex bloodstream infections have been found in two affected facilities in the state.
Public Health Department Actions
The authorities working in public health departments all throughout the United States have coordinated their efforts with federal authorities, reference laboratories and hospitals using the expertise of laboratory staff and entomologists (infectious disease medical experts). These agencies and authorities are obtaining and managing important data, performing molecular testing and cultures, and sharing testing results to help prevent the public from further harm.
The outbreak of the deadly disease caused by contamination has increased public awareness while federal agencies continue to investigate the outbreak. Swift action by medical and health professionals have helped identify the source of the deadly outbreak and their quick response hopes to prevent further cases. These public health organizations are asking medical professionals to:
- “Stop using any remaining recall Nurse Assist Prefilled Saline Flush Syringe products.
- Immediately recover any unused product from pharmacies, medical cards, medication preparation areas, and patient care
- Notify local or state authorities of any cases of Burkholderia cepacia complex bloodstream infections identified among patients who received intravenous care at the facility… using the product (prior to) August 1, 2016.
- Report adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program either online, by regular mail or by fax.”
IV Flush Syringe Recall
In the latter part of 2016, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) started tracking a serious infection outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia prevention after receiving numerous reports of bacteremia (bloodstream infection) happening across five states. At the beginning of 2017, the federal agency announced its investigation involved more than 160 cases including seven deaths that might have been associated with bacteria-contaminated syringes.
- January 2017 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a medical device maker voluntary Class I recall by the manufacturer involving their Nurse Assist Normal Sailing IV Plus Syringes. The recall was initiated “due to the potential link of Burkholderia cepacia bloodstream infections with the product. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the effects of Burkholder cepacia in people ‘vary widely, ranging from no symptoms at all to serious respiratory infections, especially in patients with cystic fibrosis’.”The FDA said the company initiated its voluntary recall after he became aware that patients had developed a serious bloodstream infection during intravenous care. The infection occurred when “using prepackaged saline flushes from Nurse Assist.” These products were distributed between February 16, 2016, and September 30, 2016. The company is recommending that “all healthcare facilities with the affected product to discontinue use and return the product to the supplier” and stated that “patient safety is of the utmost importance; all expired lots of these products are being recalled until a thorough investigation can be completed. There are no other related recalls for Nurse Assist product.”
The recalled products manufactured by Nurse Assist are sold in lots and part numbers that can be verified by checking the inner carton’s back panel and on every syringe label. These products include #1203 (3 milliliter), #1205 (3 milliliter), #1210 (10 milliliter), and 1210-BP (10 milliliter).
What to Do
Individuals who develop sepsis or serious blood infections Burkholderia cepacia after being administered in IV flush through a syringe likely has the right to seek financial compensation for their injuries. However, these cases are difficult to handle and require a comprehensive understanding of state/federal tort law, product liability statutes, and medical malpractice lawsuits. Because of that, it is essential to hire a defective medical device litigator to handle the entire process of obtaining compensation.
Hiring a Lawyer
The B. cepacia infection injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are currently investigating, evaluating, and accepting IV flush syringe injury cases involving individuals suffering a life-threatening bacterial infection. Our reputable team of litigation attorneys has years of experience in representing plaintiffs in product liability cases and flush syringe lawsuits. We successfully resolve our cases to ensure our clients receive the financial compensation they deserve.
If you have suffered injury or lost a loved one due to a Burkholderia cepacia infection, we are here to help. We can handle every aspect of your product liability and medical malpractice lawsuit to ensure that every individual and entity responsible for your harm is held legally and financially accountable. Contact us now to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your claim.
We are currently accepting these cases through contingency fee agreements, meaning we will postpone accepting payment for our legal services until we have successfully resolved your case. Contact us now to discuss our “no win/no fee” guarantee. This means you owe us nothing if we are unable to negotiate an out-of-court settlement on your behalf or win your case at trial.