Earlier this month, the husband of a 29-year-old woman who is the mother of two young children filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas against a hospital and its medical staff whose alleged medical negligence resulted in the woman now being in a permanent near-comatose state that requires her to be constantly monitored and to receive continuous care. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the woman had a breathing tube that became dislodged for more than half-an-hour, which caused her to be deprived of oxygen to her brain that resulted in the permanent brain injury.
The woman’s odyssey began in the summer of 2013 when she was admitted to the hospital (where she happened to work for eight years as a surgical technician) after experiencing numbness in her legs that was diagnosed as being caused by Guillain-Barre syndrome, which required her to have temporary mechanical assistance with breathing. At first, a breathing tube was inserted through her mouth, which was later placed through an incision that was created in her neck. As expected, the woman was awake and alert but was unable to speak due to the placement of the breathing tube. Unfortunately, as the medical malpractice lawsuit alleges, the breathing tube was improperly inserted, causing the woman to receive only about one-half of the necessary flow of air, which the medical staff attending to her should have been aware.
According to the plaintiff’s medical negligence complaint, a nurse improperly turned the woman the next morning, which caused the breathing tube to become dislodged. The medical caregivers were unable to re-establish air flow for about 35 minutes, which left the woman with the permanent brain injury.
What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The initial symptoms include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. In many instances the symmetrical weakness and abnormal sensations spread to the arms and upper body, which can increase in intensity until certain muscles cannot be used at all. When severe, the person is almost totally paralyzed and the disorder is considered life-threatening because of the potential interference with breathing and, at times, with blood pressure or heart rate. In such cases, the individual is often placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing and is watched closely for problems such as an abnormal heart beat, infections, blood clots, and high or low blood pressure. Most individuals have good recovery from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, although some continue to have a certain degree of weakness.
If you or a family member were injured (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in a hospital in Texas or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Texas medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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