Intubation Errors and Medical Malpractice
Understanding Intubation Errors and Related Injuries in New Jersey
Ideally, anesthesiologists administer safe and effective drugs to patients prior to undergoing serious surgical procedures. Unfortunately, intubation errors and anesthesia errors may occur in a variety of situations, despite assumptions that complications are isolated to hospital surgeries. For example, these errors may also occur in urgent care facilities, dentist’s offices, or surgery centers. Although relatively commonplace, the use of intubation can lead to profound complications and permanent harm for patients if it is improperly done.
When a doctor fails to intubate in a timely manner, or improperly places the intubation tube in a patient’s trachea, the delicately lined trachea can be torn or even punctured entirely. Mistakes with intubation can cause paralyzed vocal cords, infection, damaged nerves, and significant injuries affecting the teeth, lips, or mouth. In more rare situations, the intubation tube may be wrongly inserted into the esophagus, as opposed to the trachea, which can prohibit proper oxygen flow and damage the esophagus itself. If you or someone you love has suffered injury resulting from an intubation error or due to negligence of a surgeon or medical facility, contact our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at 973-435-4551 to receive a cost-free consultation and learn more about your available legal options.
What is Intubation?
When a patient suffers a serious injury, or cannot breathe on their own due to a medical condition, he or she may require assistance breathing, known as endotracheal intubation. When this occurs, the patient undergoes intubation, a procedure which includes the administration of anesthesia and the insertion of a tube down the airway. The tube is connected to a ventilator that provides consistent oxygen flow to the patient. However, serious injury may result when the procedure is performed incorrectly.
Distinct from intubation, anesthesia is used to place a patient in a medically-induced coma, following the administration of general anesthetic agents, including: Fentanyl, Lidocaine, Nitrous Oxide and/or Propofol. Administration of these drugs results in a patient going to sleep during a medical procedure to prevent movement, awareness, and the sensation of pain.
Intubation Errors Explained
Many factors can cause intubation complications, including the negligence of a doctor or anesthesiologist. Examples of medical malpractice involving intubation and anesthesia include: dosage errors; improper monitoring of a patient; allergic reactions; failure to monitor a patient’s level of consciousness, oxygenation and other vitals; and failure to intubate or injuries resulting from intubation (performed during surgery to assist in breathing safely).
The following types of anesthesia may be administered during a procedure: general anesthesia (rendering a patient unconscious); local (administered to specific areas); regional (numbing large areas); or spinal and epidural (delivered through injection near the spinal cord). The type of anesthesia administered to a patient can affect anesthesia complications. These complications may be in the form of: anxiety, allergic reactions, sore throat, complications with blood pressure, severe injury, nerve damage, and possibly wrongful death.
A prolonged loss of oxygen is one of the most severe complications resulting from an intubation or anesthesia error. Merely three minutes without oxygen may lead to potentially permanent brain damage due to cerebral hypoxia. When a patient has experienced a loss of oxygen leading to permanent disability, (s)he may have a basis to bring a medical malpractice claim against the treating physician or medical facility.
Injured by Intubation Negligence in New Jersey?
Call 973-435-4551 to discuss your unique case with an experienced intubation malpractice attorney in New Jersey, or contact us online and we will be sure to get in touch with you right away to outline your legal avenues to obtain compensation.