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Failure to Diagnose Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a type of severe, acute lung dysfunction caused by illness or injury that affects all or most of both lungs. Although it is commonly referred to as adult respiratory distress syndrome, it can also affect children. ARDS is caused by a buildup of fluid in the lungs’ small air sacs. This makes getting oxygen into the bloodstream difficult. Breathing difficulties, excessively deep and rapid breathing, and low levels of oxygen in the circulating blood are all possible symptoms. ARDS can occur as a result of widespread infection in the body or as a result of pneumonia, trauma, shock, severe burns, aspiration of food into the lung, multiple blood transfusions, and inhalation of toxic fumes, among other things. It usually manifests itself within 24 to 48 hours of the initial illness or injury and is classified as a medical emergency.

Although there is no cure for ARDS, there are treatment options that can aid in lung healing. Even with treatment, the condition is frequently fatal. More than half of those who develop the syndrome die because of it. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a lung injury that can occur as a result of medical malpractice. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cases of ARDS caused by medical professionals’ negligence by a physician’s inability to prevent excessive blood loss, failure to detect, prevent, or treat infections, incorrect administration of a blood transfusion, a surgical procedure error, and medication dosage errors and cross-reactions. If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of ARDS because of a healthcare provider’s mistake, you may be able to take legal action. The highly experienced attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano have obtained millions in verdicts and settlements for medical and pediatric malpractice victims.  We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

Each year, approximately 150,000 cases of ARDS are reported in the United States. The progression of ARDS varies greatly across the country due to different definitions of the disease, demographics, and healthcare system differences. Acute respiratory distress syndrome can affect people of any age who have a lung injury or illness. The incidence rises with age, from 16 affected individuals per 100,000 in people aged 15 to 19 to 306 affected individuals per 100,000 in people aged 75 to 84. When ARDS is associated with sepsis or most other causes, there is no difference in incidence between men and women. When trauma is the underlying cause of ARDS, the incidence is slightly higher in females. Despite advances in our understanding of ARDS over the last two decades, the in-hospital mortality rate remains at 40-50%, with the majority of deaths occurring within the first few weeks of disease onset.

When fluid fills the air sacs in the lungs, ARDS develops. The fluid restricts oxygen flow and raises carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream. ARDS can reduce the amount of oxygen vital organs require to function.  Aside from lung problems, ARDS can cause other complications, and it can be caused by other potentially fatal conditions. ARDS is frequently associated with heart, liver, kidney, and brain damage, as well as severe blood infections. Damage to these other organs may necessitate additional treatments in addition to the standard ARDS treatment regimen.

ARDS is most common in the critically ill or hospitalized, but it can also occur in those who have been subjected to blunt-force trauma. Symptoms usually appear within a day or two of the onset of the illness or injury. The following are common ARDS symptoms:

  • rapid breathing.
  • hypotension (low blood pressure).
  • fatigue and weakness of the muscles.
  • bluish skin tone.
  • coughing.
  • fever.
  • headache.
  • rapid heart rate.
  • mental anguish.

When symptoms appear, a medical professional will typically order an x-ray. If ARDS is present, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs will occur concurrently with ARDS. However, ARDS diagnosis can be difficult because it is clinically similar to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). The pressure in the Pulmonary Artery is the difference between the two. CHF causes an increase in blood pressure and a weakening of the left ventricle. Additional testing may be ordered by the doctor to rule out other diseases.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a serious complication of tissue damage to the membrane between the lungs’ air sacs and arteries. It is the result of these changes that allow this membrane to become permeable to blood fluids, resulting in inflammation and, if not healed, fibrous scar tissue. The fluid in the air sacs and the associated inflammation reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, causing the patient to exhibit symptoms and signs of oxygen deprivation. Shortness of breath, peripheral cyanosis, agitation, confusion, and somnolence are all symptoms of fluid noises in the lungs.

At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our medical malpractice attorneys are committed to advocating on your behalf and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Having an experienced Upstate New York medical malpractice attorney on your side is the best way to ensure that your interests and your rights are protected while you concentrate on healing.  Our attorneys have won cases for our clients across the Upstate New York area, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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