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Wife vomited after IV insertion. What went wrong?

The other day, my wife had to have an IV inserted into her arm for a bone scan. They were going to use the IV to inject a radioactive solution and then take an X-ray of her hand. She didn't get that far because she had a very bad reaction to having the IV inserted. She'd had an IV in before for an endoscopy with no problems so I think something must have gone horribly wrong this time. Here's exactly how it went down...

The technician tubed off her arm around her bicep and had her make a fist to find a vein. He said "Nice big veins" and then proceeded to insert the IV needle. He seemed to struggle for a while with it. When he got it in, I saw a bit of blood come down the thin tubing attached to the needle. I noticed there were some air bubbles in the tubing. He then attached a syringe and fiddled with it some. I saw the syringe turn pinkish as if some of her blood got in it. A bit later he said he had unfortunately missed the vein and would have to try again.

He took the needle out and got a fresh one. This time he took even longer getting it in. My wife later told me that when he got it in, it hurt pretty bad and kept hurting the whole rest of the time, which is very unlike her previous experience with an IV. I once again saw some blood come down the tiny tube attached to the needle. He then took the SAME syringe that had some of her blood in it and attached it to the tube. He then appeared to inject what was in that back into her arm (apparently a salt solution?). A moment later, my wife suddenly felt very ill. She started sweating, got weak and felt a wave of nausea suddenly hit her. She got out of her chair and sat on the floor. I quickly got a waste basket and she started vomiting violently for several minutes. While this was happening, the tech came back over and took the needle out of her arm.

I asked him what had happened. He said he'd flushed out the something-or-other (can't remember his exact wording) with salt water which was apparently a normal part of the procedure. I asked why she got suddenly sick and he thought it was due to "anxiety" OR that she had some allergy to salt water? He didn't really seem to have a good answer and said he'd never seen this happen before. My wife eventually felt better (but still weak) and just wanted to get out of there, so we left. I probably should have stayed around to ask more questions but she really wanted to go.

So what the heck happened here? She said the pain she felt with that second needle insertion was abnormal, and it was after that that she started getting nauseous. She does have very bad anxiety, especially around doctors but I really don't think that could explain such an extreme reaction. She's OK with no after effects.

Any thoughts on what could have caused this? I'm going call the lab where she had this done on Monday to ask some more questions. What should I make sure to find out?
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replied December 26th, 2018
Thank you for asking at Ehealth forum!

I read your question and i understand your concern. The contrast likely used caused symptoms. Its nothing to worry about. Stay hydrated and take supportive medication for relief.

I hope it helps. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider for further guidance as our answers are just for education and counselling purposes and cannot be an alternative to actual visit to a doctor.
Take care
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Tags: Allergy, Anxiety
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