Catheter punctures infant’s heart; he narrowly survives operation

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If good intentions carried much worth in the delivery of babies, there wouldn’t be many birth injuries occurring. Doctors’ hearts were in the right place when they treated a prematurely-born baby for pneumonia, but hospital staff didn’t follow best practices and it almost cost the infant his life.

When the 7-pound infant showed symptoms of pneumonia, doctors ordered medicine to be administered through intravenous (IV) infusion. The medication did its job, but hospital staff left the catheter in the boy’s vein for nearly a month. The neglected catheter finally broke off inside his body and began circulating through his bloodstream.

The broken catheter finally came to a nearly-fatal stop in the boy’s heart, puncturing the child’s pulmonary artery. Because a subtle shift in the broken catheter could cause instant death, a local hospital performed a risky surgery that, fortunately, ended up saving his life.

While this story has a happy ending, it demonstrates how a hospital’s negligence can prove fatal. The infant’s catheter should have been closely monitored and, presumably, replaced. Instead, nurses and physicians allowed the aging catheter to remain in the infant’s vein, which also presented a heightened risk of infection.

Hospitals are supposed to properly train and supervise their staff to follow best practices. When sloppy nursing puts a child’s life at risk, both the nurse and hospital can be held accountable for their negligence. If you or your baby has been harmed by professional negligence, contact a skilled Ohio birth injury lawyer to discuss your case.

Source: English.eastday.com, “Object in baby’s heart removed,” March 16, 2012

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