Nadia was born prematurely and was in NICU when she sustained the injury on her leg because of IV infiltration (This is where the IV catheter slides out of the vein and IV fluid is then infused into the tissues instead of the vein).
"I called the NICU three times that morning and each time the nurse was too busy to talk," says Nancy (not her real name pending a lawsuit). I asked them to call me back and finally in the afternoon the nurse practitioner told me that Nadia had a burn on her ankle but it was superficial and nothing to worry about. She also said that the plastic surgeon was going to look at it the following day."
If it was only a superficial burn (which means that only the top layer of skin is burnt and should take a few weeks to heal), why was a plastic surgeon notified? Nancy was alarmed. She and her fiancé went over to the hospital right away.
"I wanted to see the burn," says Nancy, "but the nurse didn't want to unwrap it because it could cause infection and she also said it was just surface of the skin. I am young and a new parent and I don't even know what 'superficial' meant. They explained that the IV leaked because she is a 'preemie' and it happens all the time. Fluid leaked out of her vein and the calcium in the liquid burnt her skin. (And I also want to add that Nadia was on the IV due to a virus she picked up in the hospital.)
"Two weeks after she got burnt, it was time for her to come home. That is when I first saw how bad it was. The wound specialist had to show us how to take care of it. Even she looked surprised when the dressing came off. She didn't want to say it was bad (because she works at the hospital) but she did say that it was 'pretty bad'. I asked her if she graded this burn as 2nd and 3rd degree. She hesitantly told me that it was superficial. I looked up the definition of superficial and it's like getting a burn with a curling iron. But I knew it was worse. And I have pictures.
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She was burnt on January 21, 2008 and the scar is still very pink and deep.
My home nurse said that this type of burn heals from the inside out, so there will be a significant scar. She also said it definitely was more than superficial.
We took her to a plastic surgeon who said that it may have caused muscle damage and nerve damage but she also said 'I am not qualified to tell you that'. I called an attorney and he wants me to wait and see how well it heals. Everyone tells me that this can occur often in premature babies, but not to this extent. Thankfully I was able to get medical assistance but I am worried about her future—if there is any nerve or muscle damage. Thank God the burn isn't on her face."