Intubation is a standard procedure performed before surgery or in emergencies to assist with breathing. In most cases, people recover from intubations without long-term effects. However, there are risks of intubation complications. Usually someone is sedated with anesthesia prior to intubation. The doctor places a laryngoscope inside a patient’s mouth and this is used to help insert some flexible tubing without hitting sensitive tissue. Sometimes a tiny camera is used to see inside. After the tube is inserted the doctor is supposed to listen to the patient’s breathing to figure out if the tube has been properly placed. In other cases, a paramedic might need to intubate a patient in an emergency. If you have been harmed or lost a loved one due to intubation complications, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys may be able to represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit.Intubation Complications
There are different kinds of intubation. With nasogastric intubation, a tube is put through the nose and into the stomach in order to feed or medicate. In fiber optic intubation, a tube is put in the throat to look at the throat. In endotracheal intubation, the tube is placed into the nose or mouth to assist with breathing while the patient is under anesthesia or because the airway is distressed. Generally, intubation can allow doctors to examine airways or assist with breathing. However, complications can include vocal cord damage, infection, fluid buildup, injuries to the throat, tearing of chest tissues resulting in lung collapse, injury to teeth, damage to dental work, and aspiration. Complications are more likely when a doctor performs intubation in an emergency. However, sometimes an intubation is a life-saving procedure.Liability for Intubation Complications
To hold a health care provider liable for intubation complications that constitute medical malpractice, you’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) you were a patient owed a professional standard of care by your health care provider, (2) breach of the professional standard of care, (3) causation and (4) damages. Usually it’s necessary to retain an expert to provide an opinion about what the professional standard of care was, whether it was breached, and whether the breach caused the injuries. A seasoned medical malpractice lawyer can help you identify an appropriate expert. If the injuries would have been sustained regardless of the intubation complications, you won’t be able to recover damages for medical malpractice.
Sometimes intubation complications can arise in the emergency room, which is a hectic place. The result can be catastrophic injury or death to the patient who comes to the ER in need of emergency help. Hospitals can be vicariously liable for an employee’s medical malpractice. In most cases, doctors are not employees, but independent contractors. However, under the doctrine of apparent authority, it may be possible to hold a hospital vicariously liable for an ER doctor’s actions or omissions in connection with intubation complications that constitute medical malpractice. The doctrine provides that when a prospective patient comes to the ER, he or she is coming for the hospital’s health care providers, facility, and services, and so the hospital should be responsible for medical negligence or the actions of ER doctors, along with other staff.Wrongful Death
On rare occasions, intubation complications may result in a wrongful death. A wrongful death is one caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, wrongful act, or intentional misconduct. You can hold the person or entity responsible for the loss engendered by bringing a lawsuit in civil court. You only have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A claim can be barred if it’s not filed within the appropriate time frame.Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
If you have been injured or a loved one suffered a wrongful death due to intubation complications in Syracuse, you can discuss the possibility of recovering damages with a skillful trial lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents patients and families of those harmed due to intubation complications in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in areas such as Lowville, Watertown, Canandaigua, Oswego, Ithaca, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Utica, Auburn, Oneida, Herkimer, Lyons, Elmira, and Wampsville. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.