You are resuscitating a hypotensive patient with severe sepsis and have just hung your 4th liter of crystalloid. On the fluid bags, you wrote the numbers 1 through 4 in permanent marker to help keep track of your resuscitation. As you finish placing your central line the charge nurse enters the room. He informs you that according to the Institute for Safe Medical Practices (ISMP), writing directly on IV bags with permanent marker is not recommended due to concerns that the ink will leach into the bag and potentially cause harm to your patient [1-4].
This situation raises several questions:
- Should we write on IV bags in permanent marker?
- Is there a possibility of ink diffusing through polyvinylchloride (PVC) bags?
- If so, is there potential harm to the patient?