Instruments: Lost Catheters

A patient who needs a prolonged transfusion or intravenous feeding of any kind normally has no difficulty in getting it. His doctor slips a needle into the vein and threads a thin polyethylene tube (catheter) through the needle into the bloodstream. The needle is then removed, the catheter taped down so that it will not pull out, and the flow of fluid continued as long as required. Occasionally, however, this procedure can have tragic complications.

Bits of the catheter, having been cut by the edge of the needle, can break off and...

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