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Medicolegal matters

Ironing out problems with iron infusions in general practice

PETER WALKER, Walid Jammal, KATE GILLMAN

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Abstract

Articles in this series highlight common medicolegal issues in general practice. Written by the claims and advocacy team at medical defence organisation Avant, the series is based on actual cases, with some details changed for privacy. With the availability of ferric carboxymaltose infusions, GPs can administer intravenous iron to patients with iron deficiency anaemia in their practices. This case study describes a potential side effect, skin discolouration, and recommends steps for risk management.

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Models used for illustrative purposes only

Article Extract

Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia are common presentations in general practice. A central role for the GP is to carefully consider and investigate the cause of iron deficiency, and to discuss the various options for treatment. These therapeutic options have changed over the years. With current guidelines advising against the use of intramuscular iron, intravenous iron delivered in general practice seems to be a reasonable option for patients who do not tolerate oral iron supplements.1 

However, intravenous iron therapy has potential problems, as illustrated by the following case example, which includes events from actual cases but does not represent a single person or event. Intravenous iron therapy needs to be considered and provided in a manner that takes into account adequate safety checks and informed patient consent. 

Picture credit: © Forestpath/stock.adobe.com
Models used for illustrative purposes only

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