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What's wrong with this picture?

This is Aaron Rodgers. He is the star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

Aaron signed the largest contract in NFL history four years ago: Five years, $100MM. He’s rich and famous, and for good reason: Aaron is one of the best football players in history.

He won a Super Bowl and was its most valuable player. Aaron has also been the league’s most valuable player twice, an All Pro six times, the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and a bankable pitch man for companies like State Farm, Adidas and Ford, and also for Prevea Health.

You get the idea. Aaron is a big deal. He’s hardly anonymous wherever he goes, especially in Wisconsin. Unfortunately Aaron’s 2017 season likely ended a couple of weeks ago when he broke his right clavicle during a game.

He posted this photo from his hospital room following surgery

This photo has over 300,000 likes on Instagram alone - but it’s unlikely anyone with a working knowledge of how vascular access devices should be inserted and maintained liked anything about what’s pictured here.

To most people - like Aaron - this just looks like another hospital tube. But to trained vascular access professionals, here’s what they see:

Maybe you think we’re being picky, but fifty people die every day in America as result of complications related to hospital tubes like the one Aaron is showing off in this photo.

This is a peripheral intravenous catheter (PIV) that’s been placed into his body to deliver medicine as part of his surgery to repair his clavicle. He didn’t go to the hospital to just get a PIV. He got a PIV because of why he was in the hospital.

It’s a vital part of the healthcare people receive. It supports your therapy. It helps keep you alive. It can also cause catastrophic problems and even kill you if it isn’t done properly.

First, this PIV has been placed in Aaron’s hand and terminates at his wrist. When he bends his wrist he risks pistoning his catheter which could lead to phlebitis, dislodgment, embolism, infiltration and infection.

PIVs can be placed in the hand, but the tip location is important. And with a patient as young and healthy as Aaron, his probably should have been placed in the arm.

Second, the hair where his PIV was inserted should have been removed prior to being placed. Third, there is blood visible in the cannula, which needs to be flushed. It is also secured with tape. There are better options for securing PIVs. PIVs get dislodged at an alarming rate.

These devices - their insertion, care and maintenance - are the most common invasive procedures in all of healthcare. Hundreds of millions of them get placed every year in America. You’ve probably had at least one in your life.

Aaron, a multi-millionaire, celebrity and healthcare pitch man, had his placed sub-optimally. And he had no idea. He shared a picture of it with millions of people, most of whom had no idea either.

This is happening every day in hospitals and clinics everywhere, in part because vascular access is not adequately covered in nursing or medical school. This specialty and vital component of healthcare delivery is generally learned on-the-job by watching other clinicians perform insertions, care and maintenance.

That’s not okay. The Association for Vascular Access would like to change that.

We are committed to protecting patients through advocacy and education by helping them understand and define what is normal with their PIVs and other access devices. AVA also educates clinicians on important aspects of vascular access like site and device selection. The AVA Foundation helps fund research, scholarships and initiatives that elevate the standard of catheter care and the competence of the people who administer them.

Vascular Access requires dedication and understanding. Aaron didn’t go to the hospital to get a PIV, but he could have ended up staying much longer - and possibly never leaving - because of it.

Fifty people die every day in American hospitals because of complications resulting from their vascular access devices. Aaron did not become part of that statistic, but thousands of others do every year. We need to do better, not just for the rich and famous - but for all of us.

This is Aaron Rodgers. He is a patient, just like all of us.

To learn more or to join AVA, please visit

(Aaron Rodgers has no relationship with AVA or the AVA Foundation, but he can always ask)