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Breathing Tube Mistakes May Lead to Nursing Home Lawsuits

Posted on in Breathing Tube Injuries

Chicago nursing home injury attorneysAn endotracheal tube or breathing tube is a medical device used when a resident cannot breathe on his or her own. A breathing tube may be necessary when a resident is suffering from respiratory failure caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, or another condition. An endotracheal tube may also be used when a resident has suffered a major brain injury.

Intubation can be a life-saving procedure. Unfortunately, breathing tube mistakes can result in unnecessary suffering or even death. If your loved one was injured or killed by a breathing tube mistake while living in a nursing home, you may have a valid nursing home injury claim.

Common Breathing Tube Errors

A breathing tube is a plastic tube used during artificial respiration to allow the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. It is connected to a ventilator or a breathing bag and inserted into the resident’s trachea. The three main types of tracheal tubes used the help nursing home residents breath include endotracheal tubes, tracheostomy tubes, and tracheal buttons. Several different breathing tube complications may occur including:

  • Improper Insertion: Improper insertion of the breathing tube can lead to serious complications. Typically, a breathing tube is inserted through a resident’s mouth using a guide that keeps the tube in place. Once the tube is in the correct position, the guide is removed. Sometimes, the breathing tube is secured using medical tape. Medical staff should be aware of the signs that a breathing tube has been improperly inserted such as abnormal breathing sounds, lack of tube fogging, or erratic chest movement. A chest x-ray or ultrasound may be used to show the position of a breathing tube.
  • Failure to Monitor Resident: Medical staff should regularly check the status of a resident who is breathing through a breathing tube. Breathing tubes can sometimes become clogged with mucus or debris. If there are signs that the tube is clogged, the resident is not getting enough oxygen, or there are other signs that the resident is suffering complications, the problem must be addressed immediately. It only takes a few minutes for a breathing tube problem to cause permanent brain damage or death.
  • Improper Extubation or Unplanned Extubation: Sometimes a resident only needs a breathing tube for a short amount of time. Once the patient is able to breath without the assistance of the breathing tube, it must be removed carefully and methodically. Improper removal of the breathing tube can lead to preventable patient injury and serious pain. Breathing tubes may also become accidentally dislodged. Unplanned extubation is frequently the result of the breathing tube being improperly placed and is often fatal.

Contact an Illinois Nursing Home Injury Lawyer

If your loved one in a nursing home was injured or killed due to a preventable breathing tube mistake, contact Schwartz Injury Law to learn about your legal options moving forward. For a free consultation with a skilled Cook County nursing home neglience attorney, call our office today at 312-535-4625.



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