Types Of Intubation Errors By Florida Health Care Providers
Any time you undergo elective surgery or an emergency procedure, you can expect that health care providers will provide some sort of ventilation assistance while you are under the effects of anesthesia. WebMD describes the process of intubation, the insertion of a long tube into the trachea. The other end of the tube is connected to a ventilator, which acts as your lungs during the procedure. Though intubation is a common practice, the equipment is highly sophisticated and requires intense training to avoid severe, life-threatening complications.
Unfortunately, mechanical ventilators are often handled by unqualified medical staff. Errors related to the intubation process and mistakes in operating the equipment can lead to serious harm, as the patient cannot breathe without ventilation assistance. A Miami medical malpractice lawyer can explain your legal rights if you were harmed due to any of the following intubation errors.
Errors in Placement and Removal
Carelessness in inserting the ventilator tube could cause injuries to the trachea, esophagus, and vocal cords, as well as nerve tissue in the affected area. Despite guidelines on intubation, physicians may use too much force or improperly direct the tube. Errors during the removal process can also lead to perforations and punctures of extremely delicate tissues. Additional surgery is often necessary to repair the damage, and some patients will sustain related trauma, such as injuries to the lips, teeth, and mouth.
Dislodged or Disconnected Tube
Even if improper placement during intubation does not cause immediate injuries, more serious complications can result if the tube disengages. A physician may err by placing the breathing tube down the esophagus, or the apparatus separates and disconnects from the ventilator. Health care providers are not only responsible for proper intubation, but also for ensuring that the tube remains safely in place throughout the procedure. A common practice is using imaging technology after placement and periodically during surgery, but attending staff should also monitor the patient’s oxygenation levels for signs of trouble.
Improper Use of Equipment
When a patient requires breathing assistance for a longer period, health care providers must frequently assess and make appropriate changes to ventilator equipment. Unqualified staff may err by:
- Changing settings without proper authorization
- Implementing improper ventilator settings
- Neglecting to adjust alarms
- Failing to communicate changes and alarms to physicians
Prolonged periods on a ventilator can also cause harm to patients even in the absence of other medical negligence. Patients are at increased risk of infection, pneumonia, and serious respiratory complications. Over time, the tube generates scar tissue, affecting the patient’s breathing. Health care providers have the duty to make proper decisions on ventilator removal to avoid poor patient outcomes.
Discuss Legal Remedies with Our Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered harm because of an intubation error, you may have a claim for airway medical malpractice. Our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. can provide additional details, so please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. Once we review your circumstances, we can talk about potential legal remedies.