Common Airway Management Errors

Doctor inserting or removing intubation tubeMedical malpractice can result in serious injury or death. In May of 2016, Johns Hopkins Medicine reported that 10% of all U.S. deaths were due to medical error. Especially when it comes to maintaining a consistent flow of oxygen to their patients, doctors must take great care. Unfortunately, mistakes during intubation or extubation can result in brain damage, esophageal injury, and even death.

What Is an Airway Management Error?

Injury occurs to a patient’s airway most commonly during intubation or extubation. When intubation becomes necessary, a medical professional uses tools to insert a breathing tube through the throat or nasal passage into the trachea to promote consistent flow of oxygen. Extubation occurs when the doctor removes the breathing tube after the patient no longer needs breathing assistance. However, airway injuries can also occur if a doctor fails to properly clear a patient’s airway. Common injuries resulting from airway management errors include:

  • Brain damage as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen)
  • Bruising or lacerations to the esophagus
  • Scarring from premature extubation
  • Stroke
  • Vocal cord injuries
  • Injuries to mouth, including soft tissues and teeth
  • Cervical spine injuries
  • Collapsed lung
  • Death

Who Can Be Held Liable for Airway Injuries?

Patients who experience significant trauma requiring a breathing tube see a myriad of medical professionals during treatment, both outside and inside hospitals. A lawyer can help you prove that a medical professional breeched the expected standard of care while inserting or removing a breathing tube, which led to your injury. Any one of the following people could be liable for airway management errors:

  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics
  • Emergency room doctors
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologists

Recover Fair Compensation After an Airway Management Error

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one after a doctor made a mistake with clearing an airway, intubation, or extubation, you need a trusted attorney on your side. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher can walk with you through complicated questions, building a case, filing a lawsuit, and negotiating a recovery amount. To speak with an attorney about your case, start a live online chat with us today.