Lawsuit?

  1. I had a patient who was receiving aminophylline 10ml/hr on his right IV site and zithromax on his left IV site. I accidentally gave the zithromax at a rate of 250ml/hr out of a volume of 250. So I actually ran the zithromax for an hour instead of running it for two hours. The patient complained of nausea, dizziness, and pain at the IV site, with numbness to his hand, and lips. Patient denies any vomitting. This wasn't his first time to receive zithromax IV. I'm very scared and worried that I might get sued. I stopped the infusion right away and apologized to the family. I called the doctor and informed him of the situation. The patient's vitals has been running from 98/50 to 140/80. I monitored it q5minutes x 30 mins. I stayed over my shift to watch over this patient. He's been stable throughout. His vitals have stayed stable also. I was off the next day and I called to work and spoke to my charge nurse. My charge nurse said that he was ok. I'm sorry for what I've done and I feel so bad. I'm a new graduate and have only been working as a nurse for about 4 months. Should I worry about a lawsuit? Thanks everyone...
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    About LearningRN

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 54; Likes: 1

    16 Comments

  3. by   Town & Country
    I wouldn't worry about a lawsuit, no.


    There was no harm done, so there's no case IMO.
  4. by   sbic56
    I wouldn't worry, either. Just a bit of advice though: try not to overreact by taking vital signs more than you need and maintain a calm composure. Patients will definitely pick up on nervousness of the care provider. These early days are tough ones and while it's very good to be concientious, don't worry too much!

    Check out this site. As you see, most of those effects the patient felt were pretty much typical troublesome side effects from IV Zithromax. Also 500 mg. is the recommended dose and you gave just 250 mg. Hope you are feeeling better!
    http://home.intekom.com/pharm/pfizer/zithro-t.html
    Last edit by sbic56 on Apr 11, '05
  5. by   LearningRN
    Quote from SunStreak
    I wouldn't worry about a lawsuit, no.


    There was no harm done, so there's no case IMO.
    Thanks SunStreak and sbic56. I'm starting to feel a little better...
    Last edit by LearningRN on Apr 11, '05
  6. by   mommatrauma
    Our policy is to run 500mg Zithromax Iv in one hour, slower for comfort...I wouldn't worry myself about a lawsuit...Nausea and burning at the site are common side effects of Iv Zithro...and I also agree with keeping your composure...If you act like you were very wrong, then the family and patient will definitely pick up on that and you will lose your credibility with the patient...Calmly say, ok mr so and so, I'm sorry you are uncomfortable, let me see if slowing down this drip helps you feel a little better....that way you take care of both the patient and the problem, without causing alarm where its not needed...
  7. by   LearningRN
    Quote from mommatrauma
    Our policy is to run 500mg Zithromax Iv in one hour, slower for comfort...I wouldn't worry myself about a lawsuit...Nausea and burning at the site are common side effects of Iv Zithro...and I also agree with keeping your composure...If you act like you were very wrong, then the family and patient will definitely pick up on that and you will lose your credibility with the patient...Calmly say, ok mr so and so, I'm sorry you are uncomfortable, let me see if slowing down this drip helps you feel a little better....that way you take care of both the patient and the problem, without causing alarm where its not needed...

    Thanks mommatrauma... I wish I had done that... What happened was that the patient was complaining of nausea and "feeling woozy" at first. They looked for another nurse to asses the situation. That nurse who saw my patient came to my charge nurse and both of them approached me stating that I was running the zithromax 500mg (250ml) in an hour instead of two. I immediately went to my patient, and him and his wife were upset that I "ran it too fast." The patient called the doctor and left a message on his phone stating. "Dr. you have to call me right now it's an emergency!" The doctor of course called back thinking it was a life and death situation. I spoke to the doctor and the doctor said everything was fine. I went back into the patient's room and I could hear the wife on the phone stating "the nurse made a mistake... what's the liability of this... etc." That really scared me... I know patients' can sue for anything... I'm just so scared... I don't have money to spare and no malpractice insurance...
  8. by   Sheri257
    Quote from SunStreak
    There was no harm done, so there's no case IMO.
    I agree.

    No harm = No damages = No suit.

    Or, at least, a suit that would get thrown out in court. But no attorney wants to take a case with no damages anyway.

  9. by   Tweety
    You live and you learn, and you move on.

  10. by   LearningRN
    Can lawyers find a way to find "injury" with the nausea, dizziness, numbness of hand, and lips? Thanks again everyone...
  11. by   sbic56
    Quote from LearningRN
    Can lawyers find a way to find "injury" with the nausea, dizziness, numbness of hand, and lips? Thanks again everyone...
    That would be deemed a frivolous lawsuit...as everyone has said, no harm done=no lawsuit. Seems you have met the patient who is every nurses nightmare; the quick to find fault, hysterical and litigious kind. She has absolutely no grounds for a suit, of that you can be certain.
  12. by   Sheri257
    When my mother died of a heart attack, her arteries had up to 90 percent blockages. Since her heart condition had not been diagnosed while she was hospitalized (she died two days after discharge), we took the medical records to three attorneys. All of them said they wouldn't take the case.

    My point is that it's very difficult to prove malpractice, even when there are major damages. So there's nothing to worry about with minor conditions like N/V, etc.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Apr 12, '05
  13. by   mommatrauma
    Unfortunately for you, your own coworkers made it worse for you...The number one rule in nursing is no confrontation in front of patients and family...sets you up for more problems then need be...it simply could have been handled by turning off the drip and then pulling you aside and saying something...sad that you have met the possible sue happy patient...sucks more that your own coworkers hung you out to dry....you live and learn, and you'll know better next time....and you'll also learn how to be diplomatic about addressing situations unlike your coworkers...good luck!
  14. by   LearningRN
    It turns out the wife of my patient used to work for risk management in the hospital that I work out. She contacted the risk management department about the situation. What does this mean? What should I expect to be coming? I'm really scared... Please pray for me...

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