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Leaving an epidural catheter in

Posted

Hello,

I had a patient with low platlets who was given an epidural during labor. Although we discontinued the infusion, I was instructed by the CRNA not to remove the catheter for 12 hours or until we had new labs to determine her platlet count. At 4 hours post partum, I disconnected the epidural distal to the filter and transferred her to the postpartum unit. Was I supposed to put some sort of cap on the end of the filter/catheter? I guess I just assumed it was like an IV port and did not put anything on it.

SierraBravo

Has 3 years experience.

Hello,

I had a patient with low platlets who was given an epidural during labor. Although we discontinued the infusion, I was instructed by the CRNA not to remove the catheter for 12 hours or until we had new labs to determine her platlet count. At 4 hours post partum, I disconnected the epidural distal to the filter and transferred her to the postpartum unit. Was I supposed to put some sort of cap on the end of the filter/catheter? I guess I just assumed it was like an IV port and did not put anything on it.

Don't take this the wrong way, but if I were in your shoes I would have been asking that question of your charge nurse, nurse educator, or even the CRNA before I disconnected the epidural and transferred the patient.

Edited by traumaRUs

flyersfan88

Specializes in Trauma, Orthopedics.

Yes, epidurals need to be capped. It's an opening to the epidural space.

You definitely need to ask next time.

OP if you can be identified by your user name, suggest you change it to something more anonymous, also this needs to be looked into ASAP, call any of the staff that SierraBravo suggested or your nurse manager.

macawake, MSN

Has 12 years experience.

Hello,

I had a patient with low platlets who was given an epidural during labor. Although we discontinued the infusion, I was instructed by the CRNA not to remove the catheter for 12 hours or until we had new labs to determine her platlet count. At 4 hours post partum, I disconnected the epidural distal to the filter and transferred her to the postpartum unit. Was I supposed to put some sort of cap on the end of the filter/catheter? I guess I just assumed it was like an IV port and did not put anything on it.

Are you a recent graduate? Anytime you encounter a medication, proceduce, equipment et cetera that you aren't familiar with, you absolutely have to find out how to handle it safely. For your sake and more importantly, your patient's.

Yes, it should have been capped (sterile).

Edited by traumaRUs

Was I supposed to put some sort of cap on the end of the filter/catheter? I guess I just assumed it was like an IV port and did not put anything on it.

By the time you get an answer from a nurse (maybe) here, you will have either wasted precious time or you will have made a mistake.

You need to know where to check protocols or speak up at the time you are unsure or something.

If you are at home and are thinking about it, call the unit and let them know you may have made a mistake... they can fix it, we can't.

Edited by traumaRUs

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

Our epidural catheters, you can just unscrew - no cap is needed.

I agree that this is something you should have asked a coworker or charge nurse, not an anonymous internet board. Things that immediately affect patient care are best left to people whom you KNOW and from whom you can get an immediate response.

Thank you all. I did hear back from my charge immediately after posting this and we got it taken care of. You are all right, I should have clarified before acting. This is my first acute care position in 8 years, and we all know what happens when we "assume".