What is Intubation?

Anesthesiologist performs tracheal intubation for patient in operation room

Intubation involves the insertion of a tube into the airway. This tube, connected to a ventilator, delivers a steady stream of oxygen and removes carbon dioxide. In some cases, intubation is a natural component of surgical procedures involving general anesthesia, which causes paralysis to muscles in the body, including the diaphragm. Intubation ensures that a patient continues to breathe steadily throughout the surgery.

In other instances, intubation is necessary due to illness or an emergency situation. Because intubation requires that a long tube be inserted into the patient’s trachea (windpipe), it is necessarily paired with anesthesia, and of course, any time general anesthesia is administered, intubation is required. Basically, intubation occurs any time a patient cannot, or will not be able to, breathe on their own.

Many different types of medical professionals may be capable of intubating a patient, including doctors, anesthesiologists, and in some cases, nurses in ER settings, depending on training. However, in all cases (anesthesia), intubation errors could occur, resulting in serious harm or even death.

What Are the Most Common Types of Intubation Errors?

When intubation errors occur, there could be a number of consequences for the patient, from cuts and bruises, to the cessation of breathing due to lack of oxygen flow. The most common types of intubation errors include:

  • Cutting, scraping, or puncturing soft tissue in the mouth, throat, or airway
  • Improper positioning of the tube in the airway
  • Tubes that are dislodged or disconnected
  • Tubes that are bent or kinked
  • Overinflated tubes
  • Failure to monitor patient oxygenation or other vital signs
  • Failure to intubate

Serious consequences of (anesthesia) intubation errors could include:

  • Internal bleeding from cuts, scrapes, or puncture wounds
  • Nerve damage from cuts, scrapes, or puncture wounds
  • Severe infection following intubation, due to failure to diagnose and/or treat errors
  • Traumatic brain injury/brain damage due to ischemia
  • Irregular heartbeat, possibly leading to stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

When (anesthesia) intubation errors occur, patients that suffer harm or those who have lost a loved one as a result may have a case for medical malpractice. The knowledgeable and experienced team at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. can help you to fight for maximum compensation in such cases.

Why Do Intubation Errors Happen? 

There are many potential factors that could contribute to intubation errors. In some cases, they’re related to long-term intubation. Errors could also occur in patients who have had a tracheotomy or patients who have a small or abnormally shaped mouth or throat. Of course, these errors could also be due to improper training, inexperience, or neglect on the part of medical professionals.

Before a medical professional is allowed to intubate patients, they must have proper training and experience to ensure patient safety. Further, they must exercise incredible care during the process, they must monitor closely for errors, and they must promptly address any complications. A failure at any step of this process could lead to serious and life-threatening consequences. 

Suffering From an Intubation Error? Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When (anesthesia) intubation errors result in harm or death, patients and their loved ones have the option to pursue a medical malpractice claim, and they may need to in order to cover medical, funerary, and other related expenses.

The qualified and compassionate attorneys at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. have the expertise to help you secure maximum compensation when (anesthesia) intubation errors occur. Contact us today at 310-289-2600 or online to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more.

Questions? Contact us