Intubation Errors and Medical Malpractice: What You Should Know
December 3, 2014
Intubation is the process of inserting tubes into people’s airways to ensure they are getting the oxygen they need when they may not be able to breathe on their own. While intubation can be a life-saving medical procedure and is often used during surgery, it can be a complicated process, and even the slightest mistakes made during intubation can end up having severe (if not fatal) consequences.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at what intubation errors are and why they happen. We’ll also explain some options people have for pursuing compensation when they’ve been hurt by intubation errors (or other types of medical malpractice).
Although the information contained herein is general, don’t hesitate to contact the highly experienced Portland medical malpractice attorneys at the Savage Law Firm when you need specific legal advice pertaining to you and your situation.
Common Types of Intubation Errors
Intubation can take place when people are preparing to undergo surgery, after an accident or in any instance when people need assistance breathing. While doctors and nurses may intubate people, so too may paramedics, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals.
When mistakes are made during the intubation process, they can include (but are not strictly limited to):
- Not properly positioning the tube within the esophagus
- Tubes becoming disconnected, kinked, bent or dislodged
- Tubes being overinflated
- Tubing puncturing the delicate tissues of the mouth, airways, etc.
Intubation Errors: The Complications
When such intubation errors occur, they can result in potentially catastrophic damage to patients, with some of the possible complications including (but not being strictly limited to):
- Traumatic brain injury when intubation errors cut off people’s supply of vital oxygen
- Internal bleeding and/or nerve damage when tubing punctures patients’ tissues
- Irregular heartbeat and/or stroke
- Severe infections when intubation errors and their resulting complications go unnoticed or untreated
- Coma when patients’ air supply is not immediately restored
Intubation Errors: The Causes
Although intubation errors can happen at any time, they are most likely to take place when:
- Longer-term intubation is needed (due to, for instance, the severity of patients’ health conditions).
- Tracheotomies have been performed.
- Patients’ mouths or throats are abnormally shaped or are just smaller than normal.
- Medical professionals are inexperienced, improperly trained and/or otherwise negligent.
When Malpractice Contributes to Intubation Errors
When the carelessness, recklessness or negligence of medical professionals leads to intubation errors, the specific forms of this medical malpractice may stem from medical professionals:
- Performing intubations even though they don’t have sufficient experience to safely intubate people
- Not being careful enough when intubating patients
- Not realizing that intubation errors have occurred even though there may be clear signs of patient distress or deteriorating health
- Not promptly treating the complications of intubation errors.
In the event that any type of malpractice or medical negligence contributes to intubation errors, pursuing a malpractice case against the negligent professional (and potentially even the hospital or facility that employs him or her) can be injured people’s best option for obtaining compensation.
Portland Medical Negligence Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
Have your or someone you love been hurt due to intubation errors or any type of medical mistakes? If so, it’s time to contact the highly experienced Portland medical negligence and malpractice lawyers at the Savage Law Firm. For more than 30 years, we have been dedicated to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services.
We realize how devastating medical mistakes can be on a physical, psychological and financial level. That’s why our lawyers are here to aggressively defend injured people’s rights to both justice and compensation.
To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.
We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.