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Intravenous Error Precipitates Legal Problems


Author(s)

Marsha A. Grimminger
Department of Chemistry
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
mag246@pitt.edu

Abstract

In this directed case study, students are presented with a legal case about a patient who died after an infusion containing the solid precipitate calcium phosphate. The lawsuit was filed to determine if the pharmacist, physician, or nurse was at fault. Students learn about intravenous (IV) infusion incompatibility while reviewing ionic compound naming rules and solubility rules. They also learn how to balance precipitation (double displacement) reactions and analyze laboratory results for electrolyte deficiencies. Finally, students are asked to assign responsibility for the fatality and to suggest a method to prevent the precipitate from forming. The case was written for a first semester general, organic, and biological (GOB) chemistry audience, but it would also be appropriate for high school and undergraduate general chemistry.


Objectives

  • Understand what a double displacement reaction is and why it is relevant to the field of nursing.
  • Correctly determine what the chemical formula of the precipitate in the IV was, and write a balanced equation to show its formation.
  • Practice writing chemical formulas for ionic compounds.
  • Learn how to write a balanced chemical equation for a double displacement reaction.

Keywords

IV incompatibility; balancing equations; GOB; precipitation reactions; double displacement reactions; solubility rules; naming ionic compounds; electrolyte deficiencies; intravenous drip

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Clinical education

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Directed

Language

English

Subject Headings

Chemistry (General)  |   Nursing  |  


Date Posted

08/30/2021

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