A neurology expert witness advises on mother’s claims that an IV placed during Cesarean delivery caused long-term wrist injury. Plaintiff was admitted to defendant hospital for a scheduled Cesarean delivery. Early in the morning of the delivery, an IV was placed in plaintiff’s left wrist on the first attempt. She delivered a healthy baby. Plaintiff was prescribed Venofer to treat anemia due to blood loss during delivery. She received the medication via IV twice over the next two days. She did not report any pain, and the nursing staff recorded no problems. The IV was removed a few hours before her discharge on the third day.
Plaintiff alleges she began to have symptoms of pain and burning at the IV site after the first administration of Venofer. Approximately two days after her discharge, she said she noticed pus in the area where the IV had been. She reported no problems at her two-week postpartum visit or a month later on another follow-up. Three months after delivery, she mentioned pain in her left wrist at a doctor visit.
Another four months later, plaintiff’s medical providers attributed her wrist symptoms to possible phlebitis or De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. She received steroid injections to her left wrist, which temporarily resolved her pain. She never returned for any follow-up evaluation of her left wrist or hand.
Plaintiff filed suit against the hospital, alleging that she suffers ongoing injuries relating to placement of the IV line.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- Are plaintiff’s alleged injuries a result of placement of her IV?
Expert Witness Response
Based on my review of the medical records and deposition transcripts, my personal interview and examination of plaintiff and my knowledge, skill, education, training and experience, it is my opinion that there is no evidence that plaintiff’s present complaints of left wrist and hand symptoms are related to the care and treatment she received during her stay at defendant hospital. Phlebitis or cellulitis at an IV site are temporary conditions which are known to resolve within two to four weeks after an IV is discontinued. Plaintiff showed no signs of having either of these conditions when I personally examined her. It is my opinion that plaintiff’s left wrist and hand are neurologically normal. There is no evidence that plaintiff sustained any type of nerve injury to her left wrist or hand relating to the IV placed during her hospitalization, including a neuropathy. Plaintiff’s report of ongoing symptoms in her left wrist and hand, including pain, swelling, and cramping, are not related to the IV which was placed during her hospitalization. Further, it is not possible for plaintiff’s wrist and hand symptoms to have resulted from the IV placed during her hospitalization.
The expert is a physician specializing in neurology for nearly 40 years. He is an adjunct professor of a university medical center and has conducted extensive research and authored numerous publications in the area of neurology.