Female Patient is Injured by Removal of Adhesive Medical Tape

Adhesive Expert WitnessThis case involves an elderly woman who presented to the Defendant medical facility in Maine for shoulder surgery. In order to eliminate or reduce the risk of infection during the procedure, the treating physicians used antimicrobial tape on the woman’s skin. The surgery was successful, however the nurse removing the antimicrobial tape ripped it off very quickly. Due to the speed at which the tape was removed, a large chunk of skin was ripped off of the patient. It was alleged that the Defendant should not have removed the tape with this level of force.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with antimicrobial tape and have you used it?
  • 2. What is the proper protocol for removing this type of tape?

Expert Witness Response E-005986

I am absolutely familiar with the use of antimicrobial tape, and I use it on a daily basis. The drapes, including the antimicrobial tape, are removed from the patient at the end of the surgical procedure. This process, following shoulder surgery in particular, is usually done by the sterile surgical team. Removing tape or any other adhesive product from elderly patients needs to be done with thought and concern for their skin integrity to avoid “ripping a chunk of skin…” from the patient. There seems to be a breach in the standard of care in this instance.

Expert Witness Response E-006412

Expert-ID: E-006412

I have extensive experience using antimicrobial products. I feel that a 4×4 tear in the skin would be due to removing the product without proper care and without respect to the skin integrity of the patient. The tape should have been removed by carefully peeling the drape off the skin and when enough skin surface was exposed, tension should have been held while the antimicrobial tape was pulled off.


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