Negligent Intubation: An All-Too-Common Problem
- August 12, 2016
For most of us, the mere thought that someone is about to push a flexible tube down one’s throat into the trachea (windpipe) is enough to scare us. Here’s a scarier thought: One recent study indicates that when the procedure is performed outside the controlled conditions of a hospital (i.e., by an EMT), it’s done incorrectly more than 20 percent of the time, with the error rate in some selected ambulance systems as high as 40 percent. Negligent intubation is an all-too-common problem, and its cost in terms of permanent brain damage and other pain and suffering is enormous.
Intubation is a Complex Procedure
Intubation keeps the patient’s airway open and unblocked. Intubation is an essential part of emergency medicine; great care must be exercised in order to maintain a patient’s airway. Medical experts point out that performing a proper intubation is not an easy task. Great skill is required to maneuver the tube into the proper position. Where the procedure is negligently performed, there are a number of possible adverse outcomes, including:
- Inadvertent oxygen desaturation
- Damage to the esophagus
- Damage to the vocal cords
- Breathing tube dislodgment
- Heart rhythm disturbances
- Unrecognized tube misplacement
An improperly placed breathing tube can result in pneumonia or other infection. Intubation negligence can result in brain damage and even death. In addition, adverse outcomes can come about due to:
- Use of damaged or unsanitary intubation equipment
- Bumping or moving an intubation tube
- Failing to observe the patient sufficiently so as to notice that harm has been done
Inadequate Training and Inexperience Are Often Factors in Intubation Problems
Medical officials note that while physician trainees in anesthesiology, critical care medicine, and emergency medicine spend many hours learning and practicing the difficult steps in a proper intubation (and extubation) procedure, EMTs and paramedics often have just a fraction of that training. Of course, to make matters worse, EMTs and paramedics often perform intubation procedures under difficult circumstances – at car crash scenes and other traumatic events – making their general lack of training even more problematic. Moreover, while EMS personnel generally view intubations as life-saving and common, most paramedics do not actually perform the procedure very often.
Some experts argue that in spite of calls within the medical community to make the changes necessary to reduce intubation errors nationally, not much has been done when it comes to out-of-hospital care. Indeed, the levels of medical care provided prior to hospital admission can be woefully inadequate.
Strong, Capable and Caring Legal Counsel Required to Recover Malpractice Damages
Have you or a family member suffered injury due to an improper intubation procedure? Are you the victim of some other form of medical malpractice? If so, you need an aggressive lawyer skilled in the area of personal injury law. The law firm of Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP has the skill, experience, and resources to help you recover the damages that you may deserve. The insurance companies that represent hospitals, physicians, EMTs and other medical personnel are slow to respond to the needs of someone who has been injured. Victims need an advocate that can provide tireless service on their behalf. Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP is one of the most highly respected law firms in Hudson Valley. We have offices in Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls. If you have a legal need, we have a solution. As one of the largest firms in Dutchess County, we have the power to bring substantial resources to your case, no matter how complex the issues. Call us at (866) 290-6929 or complete our online form.