Negligent Anesthesiologists May Be to Blame for Intubation Injuries

doctor intubating a patientWhen an emergency arises during surgery and a patient’s airways are blocked, an anesthesiologist may have to intubate a patient to help the patient breathe. Unfortunately, intubation can be performed incorrectly and cause harm to patients.

What Is Intubation?

Intubation is a procedure in which a plastic tube is placed in a patient’s mouth and pushed down into the trachea. This is done when a patient needs to be placed on a ventilator during deep sedation for surgery. Intubating the patient helps get air into and out of their lungs, allowing them to breathe when unable to do so on their own. This is often the case in emergency situations.

Intubation is necessary in many surgeries requiring anesthesia so anesthesiologists are often responsible for the procedure. Although anesthesiologists receive training and know how to intubate patients during emergencies to provide them with proper airflow, sometimes things go wrong and anesthesiologists make critical mistakes. Sadly, when an anesthesia error involving intubation occurs, patients can suffer severe effects.

Effects of Intubation Errors

When negligence occurs during intubation, patients can suffer the following injuries:

  • Perforated trachea or esophagus
  • Pneumonia 
  • Lung damage
  • Bronchospasms or laryngospasms
  • Mouth and teeth damage
  • Throat and vocal cord damage
  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Other serious injuries

When intubation isn’t done correctly, it can limit a patient’s oxygen supply, leading to significant injuries and even death. Incorrect intubation can occur when the tube is inserted into the esophagus instead of the trachea or the tube is inserted too far and only one lung gets ventilated. In either event, intubation errors that cause injuries to patients are the result of medical negligence.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of an intubation error while under anesthesia, you may have a medical malpractice claim. If you are wondering if you have a case, please order a free copy of our book A Patient’s Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law, or call our office today. In these types of cases, it is usually beneficial to hire an attorney with medical malpractice experience to investigate your claim and help you pursue the fullest compensation.