The family of a 62-year-old man who suffered a fractured neck during intubation that rendered him a paraplegic has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, alleging that the intubation was unnecessary. When the man was advised that he was a paraplegic and that he would need to rely on others for his activities of daily living, that his condition would not improve, and that he would need a permanent feeding tube, he chose to be removed from life support and died on April 6, 2016, two days after learning about his permanent and severe disabilities due to his neck fracture and paraplegia.
The man’s cause of death was reportedly listed as cervical spine fracture – traumatic.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the doctor and the hospital allege that the doctor failed to obtain the consent of either the patient or his wife before he attempted to insert a breathing tube that resulted in the patient’s neck fracture, and that the breathing tube was unnecessary. According to the family’s medical negligence lawsuit, the doctor breached the standard of care by performing the emergency intubation procedure despite the man being coherent and stable and his condition was not rapidly deteriorating (the doctor chose to insert the breathing tube on an emergency basis due to the rising carbon dioxide levels in the man’s blood).
The man had gone to the hospital in March 2016 with complaints of shortness of breath at which time he appeared to be in moderate distress with shallow breathing and he exhibited confusion, according to the hospital records. The man was given medication to increase his air flow, which the family alleges improved his condition. Nonetheless, without obtaining the man’s consent or his wife’s consent (the wife was at his bedside), the doctor performed the emergency intubation, which the doctor alleged was done with the man’s “implied” consent.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the defendant doctor knew about the man’s past medical history, which included rheumatoid arthritis and a musculoskeletal disorder, but never discussed the pre-existing conditions with either the man or his wife.
The family’s medical malpractice lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages for the father-of-three’s severe pain and suffering prior to his death. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury will determine the amount of the damages that are appropriate to compensate for the harms suffered by the man.
The most common risks associated with endotracheal intubation include bleeding; infection; trauma to the larynx, thyroid gland, vocal cords, trachea, or esophagus; and puncture or perforation of body parts in the chest cavity, leading to lung collapse.
If you or a loved one suffered serious harm due to hospital malpractice in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a hospital malpractice lawyer in Pennsylvania, or a hospital malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your hospital malpractice claim for you and represent you in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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