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Three Cases of Local Anesthesia Errors Fuels FDA Warnings

Apr 29, 2021 Brown Moore Medical Malpractice

Medical negligence is currently the third leading cause of death in America. In recent news, three cases have been reported where tranexamic acid was mistaken for local anesthesia and injected into the spine. Tranexamic acid errors can cause catastrophic injuries and death.

Medical negligence is on the rise, but only 2.9% of people injured to file a suit. The CDC does not currently recognize medical errors as a cause of death. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a medical provider’s negligence, you have an opportunity to help bring attention to this growing problem. Charlotte medical malpractice attorneys, Brown Moore & Associates PLLC, believe in the accountability of medical providers. When you have suffered an avoidable injury due to a health care provider’s failure to act according to medical standards, you need Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC to secure the compensation you deserve.

FDA Alerts Medical Professionals of Tranexamic Acid Used Instead of Local Anesthesia

The day has arrived. You are nervous, but you need your knee replacement surgery to help with your quality of life. After sitting in your gown, signing papers, and anxiously waiting, the anesthesiologist finally comes. She needs to inject the local anesthetic into your spine, so you take a deep breath and try to stay still. Once the needle is out and done, you relax a bit and turn to ask a question. Suddenly, you are gripped in your first seizure, having no idea what is going on.

That was the experience of one such patient reported to the FDA. In the second case, a patient was undergoing hip replacement surgery received tranexamic acid in the spine. The patient also experienced seizures and extreme pain but survived. The third patient survived the injection of tranexamic acid in her spine when she was due to receive a local anesthetic for a bilateral knee replacement. She experienced severe seizures and placed in an induced coma for several days.

Tranexamic acid is used to promote blood clotting. It can be taken orally, intravenously, or topically. However, when tranexamic acid is injected into the spinal column, it causes catastrophic injuries or even death.

  • It has a mortality rate of 50%
  • Can cause seizures, as in the case above
  • Patients can have permanent neurological injuries
  • Ventricular fibrillation, which is a life-threatening heart rhythm that can trigger heart attacks
  • Paraplegia has also been reported.

This kind of mistake is called a wrong-route error. Though it is not very common, The FDA is putting healthcare professionals on alert after back-to-back instances.

Why Are Medical Professionals Injecting Tranexamic Acid Instead of Local Anesthesia in the First Place?

The local anesthetic that was meant to be given to the patients was bupivacaine. Bupivacaine, ropivacaine (another anesthetic), and tranexamic acid are all packaged in similar vials. Sat upright, they each have the same color blue caps. The vials are different sizes but are usually stored in the upright position, making it difficult for health care professionals to differentiate the three. The areas where these drugs are needed most are perioperative, labor and delivery, and emergency rooms. Most of these areas have not implemented or do not routinely use barcode scanning technology, which would catch most drug errors.

The FDA is encouraging health care providers to set up preventative measures that include;

  • Storing tranexamic acid separate from anesthetics
  • Store injectable drugs with the labels visible, not only the caps
  • Using labels, ‘Contains Tranexamic Acid’ on the caps
  • Utilize barcode scanning

If you or someone you know has been injured due to a drug or medication mix-up, please contact our medical malpractice team today.

Why Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC?

Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC have defended the rights of injured Carolinians with a combined experience of over fifty years. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a medical professional’s careless or negligent actions, you need a medical malpractice attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 800-948-0577.