IVs on baby-Am I too sensitive?

  1. 0
    I graduated 3 years ago. I am new to the peds floor. Yesterday we started an IV on a 6 month old baby who was slightly dehydrated and VERY chunky (24 pounds). I was comforting the baby while the IV team nurse and my trainer were attempting to start the IV. I am very traumatized but here is what happened:

    Strap baby down on table across the chest and legs. Baby is wiggling a lot and rubbing herself red where the restraints are. She's screaming crying. They tie the tourniquet and baby screams and cries even more. Arm turns red and face turns red, no tears bc baby is dehydrated. IV is inserted and baby gasps for air and screams harder and keeps turning her face. There is no blood return so the nurse wiggles cath around. This goes on for about 15 secs-I removed the tourniquet bc they forgot to. They decide the IV is useless and they take it out. This took about 3-4 mins. They find another site and attempt again. this time they mess with the IV for about 4-5 mins bc it has a kink in it but it is in the vein. Baby is reacting the same way and I'm getting worried bc she has been crying like this for about 10 mins, rubbing herself raw against the restraint and she is continuously red from crying. They finally decide to take the IV out. I take the restraint off and sit the baby up and try to comfort her. They joked that they are cold hearted and they can tell I'm new. They want to attempt her legs now. So we lay her back and begin again. This goes on for about 20 more mins. They need more supplies so I leave. I asked if I should get a paci and they said it wouldn't help. I got one anyways. I come back and had some water so I could keep dipping the paci in it bc I noticed the baby's lips were now chapped and her mouth had no moisture. The baby keeps falling in and out of sleep these last few times which lasted about 15 minutes. The baby only had two very very small breaks (about 1 minute each), we were in there for 45mins to an hour, the baby had nothing to drink except what I was offering from dipping water on the paci. I am so upset about this. This was over 24 hours and I am so sad. I am going to the mgr and asking about a different process for insertion of IVs on babies. I'm new to the unit and hospital and I don't want to overstep but I feel this could have been done a better way.

    What do you think?
  2. 34 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    there have been studies on pain in newborns given glucose or a sweetened pacifier, but i don't know if they extend to a 6-month-old. maybe you can find out.
    a certain amount of cold-bloodedness is necessary to be able to do a life-saving procedure on a baby, but i think it might have been better to give the kid a little sedation or a bottle of glucose water to suck on. not a peds nurse ... but i would kill any smartass staff who did this to my baby.
    turnforthenurseRN and PMFB-RN like this.
  4. 4
    IVs hurt, but if the baby was not having tears it sounds like it was essential to get the line (also the falling in and out of sleep sounds like the baby was getting a little lethargic??), and to get it as quickly as possible. With a dehydrated, chubby baby, I can see how getting a line in could be very challenging even for skilled nurses and techs. I'm wondering why you removed the tourniquet before they got their flash that first time- it sounds like they were't in the vein yet. Were you helping to hold the baby in addition to the restraints? Why were you giving a dehydrated baby water and not pedialyte on the paci (or better yet sweet-ease)? Did your team try warm packs or warm wet diapers on the potential IV sites to help dilate the veins? Sometimes you can use a light to help illuminate veins- an otoscope can work if you don't have the fancy vein light thingies.

    It can be upsetting to see babies ad kids cry during procedures, but often they cry as much if not more about being restrained than the actual pain of the procedure. Giving the baby breaks in between attempts is a nice idea, but it sounds like this patient was more than "slightly" dehydrated and needed that IV.
    wooh, Vespertinas, nursel56, and 1 other like this.
  5. 0
    Thank you for the feedback. To answer your questions-in nursing school I was taught that a tourniquet really isn't necessary unless you absolutely need it and it is painful. I personally think a tourniquet is worse than the IV on me so I took off the tourniquet after they got in, perhaps I shouldn't have. Pedialyte is stored at the opposite end of the unit and when I was sent to get supplies I had to hurry so the room we were in had water and that's what I used to moisten the baby's mouth. Maybe 1 mL was total all that she got. They did not use a light or warm packs but that is a very good idea that I wish I would have thought about.
  6. 0
    Ah, ok, 1ml isn't a big deal. Definitely try the heel warmers/warm packs or a warm wet diaper over the spots you plan to look- that can make a huge difference. We do hands/forearms and then feet and lower legs (depending on the age). Just make sure the water in the diaper if you use that isn't too hot and then let it sit for a few minutes. I keep my tourniquet on until I'm ready to flush- either until I have the labs drawn that I need or until I confirm placement by seeing a nice flash/blood return.

    We usually use sheets to restrain our kids that need extra restraint other than what 1 person can hold- we do basically a burrito wrap with the patient as the filling and whatever extremity we're working on held out. If your restraints are really rough on the skin you might try that.
  7. 0
    My question is shouldn't we have given the baby a break to rehydrate? She could take in fluids just fine- (she had RSV so she could take in fluids it was just difficult because of her congestion). I think a break after being restrained is protocol right?? We were in there for about an hour and only took off the restraints for about 2 minutes total.
  8. 6
    She wasn't making tears though, so she hadn't been hydrating well at all. It doesn't sound like she suddenly became dehydrated during the IV attempts, but that she was getting the IV specifically because she needed the IV rehydration. I wasn't there, but from what you describe it sounds like she needed that IV (no tears, "falling asleep" during the IV attempts). It needed to get done, and allowing breaks for the baby to calm done would have just made the whole thing take longer, delaying rehydrating the baby.
    nursel56, gonzo1, wooh, and 3 others like this.
  9. 9
    Quote from sschwartz018
    My question is shouldn't we have given the baby a break to rehydrate? She could take in fluids just fine- (she had RSV so she could take in fluids it was just difficult because of her congestion). I think a break after being restrained is protocol right?? We were in there for about an hour and only took off the restraints for about 2 minutes total.
    A kiddo whose fluid deficit has progressed to the point of dry mouth/no tears/decreased urine output -- NEEDS IV FLUIDS. A break to attempt to rehydrate orally? Does this fit into the urgency of the planned interventions?

    I also think you're applying principles of restraint used in adults for behavioral purposes to an infant, and they just don't apply.

    Crying does not in itself harm infants -- otherwise the human population would have died out a long time ago.

    This sounds like the basis for an indepth discussion with your preceptor or unit educator.
    wooh, KelRN215, JustBeachyNurse, and 6 others like this.
  10. 1
    As a mom, I have a hard time when my babies are crying and upset, and I can't do anything to help them. I went through an episode where my then 3 month old little girl got dehydrated because she had gastroenteritis. As much as I absolutely HATED the idea of anybody poking needles in my little girl.. I knew that it was in her best interest. I believe that as a nurse, I will have to deal with similar situations. The baby you described obviously needed the IV, and although it's unfortunate that it had to happen the way it did, the IV was necessary. Although, I will say this.. if someone had tried a couple time to get IV access on my baby and failed, I would have asked for someone else to try. Any nurse can have a bad day in the IV dept., which is why I personally think letting someone else try gives a fresh perspective and approach to the "problem."
    gonzo1 likes this.
  11. 4
    A 6mo who is ill with RSV cannot rehydrate on his/her own. She needs the IV to rehydrate. And yes, the tourniquet is necessary, especially if dehydrated, and especially with chubby infant limbs.

    I think that a pacifier with some Sweetease might have been a better option to try than water.

    The dozing-in-and-out was probably a stress response, "shutting down" in response to the IV starts.
    wooh, merlee, hiddencatRN, and 1 other like this.


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