A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure performed on the neck that is designed to open a direct airway through an incision in the trachea or windpipe. This procedure may be used for acute, chronic, or emergency situation or medical condition, and is utilized to facilitate breathing. The tracheostomy tube is typically inserted into the trachea below the voice box or larynx. In some emergency situations, the tracheostomy may be performed higher up (in the larynx). It is imperative that a tracheostomy be performed at the correct level. If a tracheostomy is performed at the incorrect level a tracheostomy injury may result. While some tracheostomy injuries are less severe than others, tracheostomy injuries can have serious consequences for the victim. Vocal cords could be damaged which could cause the individual to lose his or her voice. A rare but potentially fatal tracheostomy injury is innominate artery erosion, which causes severe aspiration that can lead to death is the patient is not properly monitored.
If an individual suffers an injury or dies as the result of a tracheostomy, this is not always immediate grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.
However, if the procedure was performed incorrectly and the patient was not carefully monitored by attending hospital staff and the patient suffered an injury or died as a result, the patient may be the victim of medical malpractice. If physician or nurses involved in the procedure were negligent in their duties and failed to provide adequate, proper and timely care to the patient, the individuals may be held liable for damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Licensed health care providers are expected to adhere to accepted standards of care when providing treatment to their patients. When health care providers deviate from these prescribed standards of care and their patient suffers an injury as a result, the health care provider may be found negligent in their duties. If evidence shows that the health care providers negligence was the proximate cause of the victim’s injury, medical malpractice has been committed.
Individuals that have suffered tracheostomy injuries may want to have their case reviewed by a medical malpractice attorney. Many times victims of medical malpractice are awarded monetary compensation by the court to assist with expensive medical bills and to replace a portion of the individual’s lost wages due to their inability to work. Victim of medical malpractice may also be compensated for the physical and mental anguish endured as a result of the tracheostomy injury. Individuals that have experienced tracheostomy injuries may have a valid medical malpractice claim, and a medical malpractice attorney can help victim take the steps necessary to hold accountable those health care providers responsible for their injuries.