Surgeries are major medical procedures in which a doctor attempts to correct an injury or disorder through invasive means. Due to the painful sensation of incisions, patients are put into a coma during major surgical procedures. This coma temporarily “shuts down” the patient’s body, rendering them unconscious. They are not able to feel, see, hear or remember the act of surgery.
It is the job of an anesthesiologist, a doctor that specializes in supervising anesthesia, to administer the coma-inducing drug. Anesthesia is a mixture of different gasses such as nitrous oxide, sevoflurane, ether, etc. These gasses are inhalable yet dangerous if not administered properly.
What is Intubation?
During surgery, these drugs take the place of oxygen in a patient’s body. To keep the patient alive, a ventilator is used to distribute the gasses. The tube connected the ventilator to the patient’s body has to be inserted into the patient’s airway to create an airflow. The placement of this tube and the distribution of gasses and oxygen is very precarious. The nasotracheal tube is placed through the nose, and the endotracheal is inserted through the mouth for tracheal placement.
The size of the tube varies and can be 7.0 or 7.5 mm ID. For the procedure, many doctors favor blind nasotracheal placement which means the anesthesiologist inserts the tube through the nose with a special spray. Blind insertion can be done with or without a fiber-optic camera.
This is the procedure that removes the tube from the patient’s airway. The patient is still unconscious during this procedure, so anesthesiologists have to be very careful. They can rupture organs or pipes while removing the tube.
Although blind intubation is largely successful, it can cause major complications if done incorrectly. The tube can slip into the wrong airway or even get tangled among the windpipe or other vessels. Here is a list of common complications during the procedure:
- Patient has an abnormally shaped nose or mouth that makes insertion difficult
- Previous tracheotomy
- Existing medical issues that make intubation difficult
- Tissue damage causes by improper intubation
- Sudden displacement of tubing during procedure
- Overinflation of the tube
- Incorrect esophageal placement of the tube
- Inexperienced anesthesiologist
Any of these complications can lead to serious patient injury that could result in death or permanent disorders.
Here is a list of the common injuries patient’s suffer after an intubation or extubation complication. If left untreated, any of these injuries can become deadly:
- Nerve damage
- Bodily infection
- Collapsed lung
- Damaged internal organs
- Irregular heartbeat
- Fracture of the cervical spine
- Punctured esophagus
- Punctured lung
- Brain damage
- Laryngospasms (spasm of the vocal chords)
- Paralysis of vocal chords
- Bronchospasms (muscle constriction within the bronchioles)
Tatum Law Firm
If you or your loved one has recently undergone a botched intubation procedure, contact the Tatum Law Firm of Charlotte, North Carolina. We specialize in medical malpractice lawsuits, and we will fight to get you the justice you deserve. Our team of experts have years of experience battling malpractice claims. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.