ALBERTA
01/22/2018 13:45 EST | Updated 01/22/2018 13:54 EST

3-Year-Old's Hand Damaged After IV Slipped Out Of Vein, Says Alberta Mom

Alberta Health Services has apologized and says it's reviewing the care the girl received.

Jalena Gunther says her three-year-old daughter Emmy, who has Down syndrome and is non-verbal, will need up to four surgeries to repair the damage done to her hand.
Jalena Gunther/Facebook
Jalena Gunther says her three-year-old daughter Emmy, who has Down syndrome and is non-verbal, will need up to four surgeries to repair the damage done to her hand.

WARNING: A photo in this post is graphic.

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services has issued an apology to the mother of a three-year-old girl after the woman says her child's hand was damaged by intravenous therapy following open-heart surgery.

Emmy Gunther, who has Down syndrome and is non-verbal, had the surgery on Jan. 16 at Edmonton's Stollery Children's Hospital and was expected to go home early this week.

Her mother, Jalena Gunther, says her child started suffering pain on Friday night but no one checked to see what was causing the problem.

She says a nurse realized the next morning that the IV had slipped out of her daughter's vein and into the skin, burning it and leaving her arm swollen and her hand covered in blisters.

Gunther says Emmy will need up to four surgeries and it's not yet clear if she will regain the full use of her hand.

She plans to launch an formal complaint and wants the incident investigated.

Gunther said she left Emmy with her mother to get some rest Friday night because her son is in the intensive care unit. The grandmother texted half an hour later to say something was not right.

"The nurses would come in and kind of look at her (Emmy), and then walk back out," said Gunther. "Nothing was really ever done. In the middle of the night again, my mom said 'Where is the doctor? He hasn't come. She's still in pain. What's going on?'"

"I want to see disciplinary action taken against the nurses that worked that night that didn't follow protocol to check the IV every hour."Jalena Gunther

Gunther said doctors and nurses told her it was a "major IV burn" that probably ran into her skin for hours. She wants the Stollery to apologize and "admit they did something wrong."

"I want to see disciplinary action taken against the nurses that worked that night that didn't follow protocol to check the IV every hour," she said. "Their actions were negligent, their protocol, as I've been told, is they're supposed to check IV sites every hour. It wasn't checked all night."

Alberta Health Services said in a statement that it's "involved" with the family and is reviewing the care given to Emmy.

"AHS has started a quality review of the care. We are very sorry about the complication that this little girl has experienced. Our standards of care should not result in this type of complication for any of our patients," the statement said. (CTV Edmonton)

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