Stupid tape

Removing an IV is a simple and basic skill that I learned early on in
nursing school. You remove the tape holding the IV in place, place a
cotton ball over the site where the IV is, and then pull the catheter
out and apply pressure with the cotton. The hospital I am working at
uses something I have never worked with before called a Statlock.

Statlock is the blue clamp in the picture. It firmly holds the IV in
place better than tape alone. To remove the Statlock, you have to rub
the white tape holding in on with alcohol, and then pull it off. We put the
Statlock on and then put a lot of clear tape over it to ensure that
nothing moves that IV out of place.
Yesterday while starting an IV
on a patient, I noticed that he went out of his way to avoid seeing
what I was doing. Most patients don’t look when I first poke them, but
do look over while I am drawing their blood just to see what is going
on. This man kept his head turned away and his eyes closed during the
whole process. He was not a fan of seeing blood, which I can
understand. A few hours later I went back in to remove his IV. I had my
cotton ball ready, and I started removing the tape above the Statlock.
All of the sudden, the IV tubing fell apart, leaving just the IV in his
arm (the green part in the picture below).

Blood started spilling out of the now
open IV, so I quickly put pressure on his vein to stop the bleeding.
This slowed it down, but did not stop it. I would have taken the IV out
right away, which would have solved the problem, but that stupid
Statlock thing was still on, and I couldn’t get it off. Noticing that
his blood was now dripping onto the floor, the man closed his eyes and
looked away. Great, my two hundred pound patient is going to faint on
me! Thankfully, closing his eyes was enough, and he didn’t lose
consciousness. One crisis avoided, but I still had blood pooling on the
floor. Had I just calmed down and thought clearly, I would have focused
more on just putting pressure on the vein to stop the bleeding, but at
the moment, I was just focused on getting that IV out. I tried ripping
the Statlock thing off without the alcohol, but he yelped in pain
(stupid hand hair), so I quit. By the time I got the IV out, it looked
like a small animal had been killed next to his bed.
Lesson of the day: Bring your brain and common sense along, even for the "simple" tasks.

16 thoughts on “Stupid tape

  1. Oh Boy!!! That\’s not good. It\’s not bad either though!
    I\’m must have felt terrible during and after the incident.
    The Statlock\’s can be tricky if I remember correctly.
    I once dropped an old lady on the floor if it makes you feel any better.

  2.   It could have been much worse.  Glad to hear you are getting some real experiences to learn from.  I\’ve been on summer break and haven\’t been anywhere close to a clinical setting for a few months.  I\’m kind of nervous thinking about getting back in to the swing of things.  I had a similar incident, luckily the woman was a teacher and very understanding.  The patients have a lot to do with your reaction to the situation as well.  Can\’t wait to hear how the rest of your time goes!! 

  3. Could certainly have been worse! I hate those things! If you just tape correctly, you shouldn\’t need those, then you don\’t have the problem you had…oh, well…next time just remember…stop the bleeding first!

  4. yowsah…. hahahahahaha i am glad you are doing that and not me. I probably would of totally panicked and yelled HELP!!!! That wouldn\’t be good because he would of freaked out on me while i\’m trying not to cry… hahahahahahaaha

  5. *close to fainting*  THAT IS SO ME!!!!!!!!!  I\’m TERRIFIED of needles!  In fact, I went many, many times to donate blood, hoping that by doing so and by being exposed to needles so much, it would get easier.  Maybe it has, but only marginally…  I think the worst was after I had had Scooter.  I\’m SURE I was dehydrated, I had hyper-tension (they had told me that if my blood pressure got much higher that I could die and that only made me freak out even more–) and that night they had to insert an IV–I don\’t remember why…  Well, it turns out they didn\’t have to leave the IV in, just had to take a sample of blood.  The first nurse and second nurse couldn\’t figure out the needle thing and so they had the pros from Life Flight come in–The guy had to dig a little (*FAINT, FAINT!!*) and gave up after a minute, but the girl poked a second with her finger and threw the needle in, drew the blood, took the needle out and left me with an even higher blood pressure…  lol  I\’m REALLY hoping that this second baby will be easier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The other story…  the first time I went to have my blood drawn (again, in an attempt to fear needles less), the girl dug and dug for my vein and I ended up having bruises up and down my arm…  it was horrible. 
    Two long stories short, I NEVER, EVER, EVER look EVER during the ENTIRE process.  I warn the technician ahead of time that I\’m scared of needles, but that I\’ll do my best not to be squeamish.  Sometimes if they aren\’t 100% confident, they\’ll grab somebody else to put the needle in, but most of the time, they pat me on the head and tell me soothingly that they\’ll be careful and promise not to "dig" for the vein.  🙂
    You probably already know this, but if your patient is really hydrated, the veins are easier to see…  🙂  I ALWAYS drink lots of water before having to give blood because I know it\’ll be easier for everyone involved.  😀

  6. I\’m so jealous of your ER capstone. Sounds like you have had some interesting shifts so far. That\’s the one thing I miss the most about working in the ER (even just as a lowly registration chick)… the weird injuries and stories. Also, the weird complaints. This one woman one time presented at the Triage window claiming that someone lit a firework near her, and she was wearing a skirt… and the firework somehow went up her skirt, through her *female nether regions* and was now lodged in her duodenum. I stared blankly at her for what seemed like forever, but finally entered her into the computer under "psych" lol

  7. Why do they always have to make tape so… sticky? I mean, it needs to be sticky, but I swear they get crazy with the industrial adheasive!
    Glad your patient didn\’t pass out (and worse yet fall on you and squish ya! Eep!!)

  8. Can you say…ouch!  Tape never works when you need it to, but comes on full strength when you need to rip it off some thing. Or someone.

  9. Katie, how on earth did people find you?  I have only had two people visit as far as I can tell.  I\’m still really new though. ;o)

  10. That is so funny!  There is always panic the first time on something like that.  And when it comes to blood, a male is not the patient to have it happen with.  When I was a phlebotomist, the only patients that fainted on me were men!  Big babies.  Are they making things more difficult with that statlock thing?  Seems they try to improve things and it only complicates. 
    Glad your ER experience is going well.  I think Dweeb is ready to put a gun to his head right now.  He has five days in a row there in this heat and the crazies are out in full force.  Thanks for you kind words.  That was my way of screaming.  LOL.  We have the move Monday and she may take up Tuesday also in getting situated (meaning my checkbook).  And yes, compensation for helping move: all the beer and pizza you can consume.  We have a couple of guys lined up if only they\’ll get there early enough.  
    Hope you have some fun cases this week!
    : ) Sue

  11. I would have passed out on the floor as soon as I saw the blood.  But look at it this way – worse things could have happened.  It was only an IV.  He wasn\’t hurt – well, except for when you tried to pull that blue thingie off LOL  But he\’ll survive.
    God bless : )

  12. I just wanted to stop by today and say "HI" and "HOPE YOUR DOING ALRIGHT"
    Make sure you are eating and sleeping right…don\’t forget to take care of Katie too!

  13. Katie,
    I felt bad for both you and patient while reading that. Talk about having to think your feet… with the pressure literally dripping on the floor in front of you. Here\’s hoping you are not feeling intimidated by next IV. Your love of what you do really shines through in your writing. I would think that would overcome any misgivings.
    Reading Sue\’s comment, I laughed. I do fine with my own blood, but once I brought my wife to the ER with chest pains. She has weak veins, and the nurse was sticking her and sticking her. I couldn\’t help but get angry watching, but I held my tongue for fear of making matters worse. That\’s when my head started feeling fuzzy…
    Next thing I know, they are both looking at me like \’What\’s up with you, man?\’
    I didn\’t need any prompting, but bent over with my head between my knees, feeling disgusted with myself. Way to be a provider, dude! Brother.
    Abe Munder

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