Blood Draw Injuries & Complications
Experienced Orange County Injury Attorneys Ready to Help
Blood tests comprise an important diagnostic tool that allows doctors to correctly identify illness or disease and order appropriate treatment. Before your blood can be tested, however, it needs to be drawn, and unfortunately many things can go wrong during blood draws.
As a patient, you might have your blood drawn in the hospital or at a different office. Regardless, many things can go wrong when the phlebotomist who draws your blood does not act with sufficient care.
If you have suffered a blood draw complication or injury, you might be entitled to compensation, but a lot will depend on the circumstances. Read on for more information to help you analyze your case.
What Causes Blood Draw Complications
Nurses and other medical professionals can make critical errors when drawing blood.
A few examples of blood draw complications include:
Inserting the needle at an improper angle or inserting it too deeply. Some phlebotomists probe with the needle or choose the wrong site to draw blood from.
A failure to diagnose a problem and to respond to it promptly and accurately. For example, many bruises can be treated before they grow too large. If your phlebotomist does not notice bruising, then you might not receive adequate treatment before pressure builds up on a nerve.
Dizziness after having blood drawn, especially due to a fear of seeing blood. If a phlebotomist does not respond correctly, then the patient could injure themselves when they pass out and fall.
Common Complications from Blood Draws
Unfortunately, many clients come to us having suffered terrible injuries at the hands of poorly-trained and careless phlebotomists. These injuries go by the name “needlestick injuries” since most of the damage is caused by an incorrect insertion of the needle.
For example, you might suffer any of the following:
Nerve damage. If the nurse or other person drawing blood is not careful, they can inadvertently penetrate a nerve when inserting the needle. If blood is drawn from the underside of your wrist, you might damage the ulnar nerve. Nerve damage can cause tremendous pain, as well as tingling and muscle weakness. Some nerve damage from a blood draw will heal on its own if given sufficient time. Other nerve injuries, however, can be permanent.
Uncontrolled bleeding. Your blood might be drawn from an area where there is a high risk of nicking an artery. In these cases, you might have massive bleeding which can be difficult to stop.
Hitting a bone. The risk of hitting a bone is higher when trying to draw blood from a baby, especially if trying to get blood from the foot. Striking a bone can lead to bone infection or inflammation of the bone or joints.
Bruising. Internal bleeding often leads to bruising, often if the needle penetrates the lower wall of a vein. Bruising is often not serious. However, if the bruising from a blood draw increases in severity, then it can begin to put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain and possibly damaging the nerves permanently.
You might not know if you have been injured immediately after a blood draw, so check for hematoma, which is a collection of blood outside blood vessels. If you see hematoma after a blood draw, check with a doctor.
What You Need to Prove to Receive Compensation
Legally, you will need to show that the phlebotomist was negligent to receive compensation. Negligence means that the phlebotomist did not use sufficient care when drawing the blood.
In California, phlebotomists must use the same level of skill, knowledge, and care when diagnosing and treating patients as other reasonably careful phlebotomists would use under the circumstances. (California Civil Jury Instruction 501). This does not mean that they must be perfect or that you can’t suffer any injury. Instead, they must be reasonably careful.
For example, it might be difficult to draw blood from certain patients, especially those who are overweight. If a phlebotomist needed several attempts to find a vein, this does not necessarily mean they were negligent because they poked you several times.
However, if the phlebotomist chose to draw blood from your feet when she just as easily could have drawn blood from the median antecubital vein in the arm, then she might be negligent if you suffer complications, such as gangrene.
Compensation You Can Receive
If you prove that a phlebotomist was negligent and that you suffered injuries, you can receive compensation for your losses.
In California, losses can be economic or non-economic, such as:
The cost of past, present, and future medical care to treat your injuries
Lost wages, if you missed work because of your injuries
Pain and suffering, to make up for the physical and emotional pain that you feel
Disability, if you are temporarily or permanently disabled because of your injuries
The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on a variety of factors. There is no “average” amount because each case is different and needs to be analyzed individually. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys as soon as possible. They can review your injuries and discuss how much they might be worth.
Learn How Our Firm Can Fight for You
Bloodwork is often necessary to help diagnose a disease, and the last thing you expect is to suffer an injury while having your blood drawn. Nevertheless, thousands of people suffer needlestick injuries every year. If you have been injured, or if a loved one has, you should meet with an experienced attorney to discuss possible compensation.
At RMD Law, we have years of experienced holding medical professionals accountable for their negligence. We understand how to build medical malpractice cases the right way, using high-quality evidence and credible expert witnesses. We never rest until our clients get the compensation they need to help recover from their injuries.
To learn more, or if you have questions about how to receive compensation, call us at (949) 335-7337 or contact us online. We offer a free initial consultation for potential clients.
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