Medical Errors – Don’t Use Pure Water Intravenously

I created this mini case study from a story about a patient given sterile water instead of saline in an intravenous drip solution. Students should probably have a learned about tonicity (hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic) before attempting this activity.

The worksheet describes a scenario where a patient was hyperglycemic and the doctor ordered water be administered, which was interpreted to mean administered intravenously. The short reading passage includes several related vocabulary words: tonicity, hemolysis, infusion.

Students then answer a series of questions related to the case and their understanding of osmosis, the cell membrane, and osmoregulation.

This lesson is great for anatomy and physiology class, particularly when reviewing osmosis. Students learn that a technical concept like tonicity is important for biological functions. In this case, putting DI water in an IV is deadly!

but it could work with general biology or even AP biology. Some of the questions might be challenging for younger students, but as with any document I share, you are welcome to modify the text.

HS-LS1-2 Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms



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