Airway Management and Intubation / Ventilation Injuries

Airway Management and Intubation Negligence

North Carolina intubation injury lawyerOxygen is the most critical necessity to human survival and health. We can survive for days without food or water, but without oxygen, permanent brain damage and death occurs in minutes. Accordingly, proper airway management by medical professionals is essential to ensure that patients get an adequate supply of oxygen. Avoidable mistakes in airway management can quickly lead to life-altering brain damage or death, and can occur in a variety of situations — often with the patient sedated and completely in the hands of their healthcare providers.

Intubation and Extubation Errors

Airway injuries often occur during a procedure called intubation, where the patient has a breathing tube (called an endotracheal or nasotracheal tube) inserted down the throat, nasal passage, or directly into the trachea.  Extubation referrers to when the tube is removed, either intentionally or negligently. Intubations and extubations are usually performed by an anesthesiologist in connection with surgery. Anesthesiologists are highly-trained physicians who perform these procedures every day and are bound by specific intubation steps and standards. Despite the precise intubation guidelines and the frequency that anesthesiologists perform them, catastrophic mistakes still occur.

In addition to anesthesiologists, emergency room doctors, paramedics, nurses and EMTs regularly perform intubations, both in hospital emergency departments and in field/transport situations. These medical professionals are trained to know and follow certain airway management protocols and algorithms designed to help them make the right decisions in emergency situations. Unfortunately, avoidable mishaps occur when these professionals fail to follow their basic training on how to intubate patients and safely manage airways. Even a seemingly minor or brief deviation from proper intubation standards can deprive a patient of oxygen and cause permanent brain damage or even death. Moreover, serious complications, such as lung damage or stroke, can arise when medical personnel fail to properly monitor a patient after a faulty intubation.

Other injuries that can occur by malpractice during airway management:

  • Hypoxic or anoxic brain damage or death
  • Oxygenation and ventilation injuries, including brain injury or death
  • Injuries from failure to clear the patient’s airway
  • Injury the esophagus, including bruising or perforation
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Scarring or injury from premature extubation
  • Allergic reactions to latex or administered medications
  • Injury to the teeth, mouth or lips

The experienced Raleigh airway management and intubation negligence attorneys at the law firm of Zaytoun & Ballew have represented numerous victims in these cases, and know how to get justice and compensation for those injured or killed.  We often consult and retain premier medical experts while evaluating and litigating cases and, if necessary, go to a jury trial to fight for our clients’ rights. Contact Zaytoun & Ballew today for a free consultation.