“Tricky Dicky” – DO NOT Combine Foley Catheters & Diapers

With the aging trend in heathcare greater proportions of institutionalized patients have issues with incontinence. Therefore, most of them will have diapers applied, and a significant proportion will also have foley catheters inserted.

Over the past year I have seen at least 3 cases of traumatic/iatrogenic hypospadius in male patients in whom foley catheters were combined with diapers. Irrespective of where the foley catheter emerges from the diapered area, there is the potential for high levels of traction to the penis which has the tendency to cause a traumatic/iatrogenic hypospadius.

I would like to post the following questions:

1. Is there any data on the incidence of traumatic/iatrogenic hypospadius caused by foley catheters?

2. Is the risk of this event increased when catherterized male patients have diapers applied?

3. Do healthcare organizations have policies on the combined use of foley catheters and diapers?

4. How much education are nurses given around male anatomy and the need to protect against this complication?

Feeling the pain vicariously,

Vincent Maida


About drvincentmaida

Consultant in Palliative Medicine & Wound Management, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto & McMaster University, Researcher & Author.
This entry was posted in Palliative Medicine, Wound Management. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Tricky Dicky” – DO NOT Combine Foley Catheters & Diapers

  1. Melissa says:

    That sounds very ‘trauMAdick’ indeed. I find iatrogenic conditions to be the most troubling of adverse effects of medical treatment. I agree that a focus on data collection, education, and policy amendment should be prudently applied, with the goal of prevention of what appears to be a preventable situation.

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