The tracheotomy procedure, also known as a tracheostomy, is a type of medical procedure that involves the use of a breathing tube. These procedures are frequently performed on patients with neck or facial cancer or significant facial injuries. Patients who have had recurrent pneumonia or any other type of breathing problem may have had a tracheotomy. A tube is inserted into the trachea during this procedure. To insert the tub, an incision in the neck must be made to allow the doctor to insert a breathing tube into the trachea—more commonly known as the windpipe. This procedure then allows the patient to breathe through the tube rather than their mouth or nose, as they would normally. While the procedure is generally thought to be safe, complications can and do arise. These complications may be the result of a tracheotomy surgical error in some cases. If you or a loved one were injured because of a routine tracheotomy procedure, you may be eligible for compensation. Understanding the procedure and your legal options can assist you in determining how to proceed. Our highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.
A tracheotomy is occasionally performed as a result of an emergency. Due to the emergent nature of the situation, the procedure may be performed quickly. While an urgent procedure may differ slightly, a tube will still be placed in the patient’s neck to improve the patient’s ability to breathe. When performed in an emergency, the procedure is known as cricothyroidotomy. This is usually the result of some kind of traumatic injury.
While a tracheotomy is performed to help with breathing difficulties, breathing problems may persist in some cases even after this procedure is completed. It should be noted that some difficulty is normal in the process of learning to breathe again. However, if the difficulty breathing persists, this is not normal. Breathing difficulties could be due to a blockage caused by pressure, mucus, or blood. Such issues are usually simple to resolve. Breathing problems can also be caused by medical malpractice or tracheotomy malpractice.
Tracheotomy malpractice occurs when a physician does something during the tracheotomy that is not within the accepted standards of care or treatment, resulting in either patient injury or death. Tracheotomy malpractice can have serious consequences. Individuals who have suffered because of professional negligence may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages.
Tracheotomies can be done in one of two ways, both of which require general anesthesia. The most common tracheotomy technique is percutaneous or “through the skin” tracheotomy, which involves making a small incision in the front of the neck, inserting a needle through the incision and into the trachea, passing a guide wire through the needle, and stretching the hole around the needle until it’s large enough to accommodate the tracheotomy breathing tube. This procedure is typically performed in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
An open surgical tracheotomy is usually performed in a hospital operating room and involves making a larger incision in the neck and cutting into the trachea itself, allowing the breathing tube to be inserted immediately.
The best tracheotomy technique is determined by a doctor based on the patient’s specific condition and medical history.
Complications from a tracheotomy can occur during or after the procedure. The following complications may occur during the tracheotomy procedure:
- Excessive bleeding
- Esophageal damage
- Damage to the laryngeal nerve, which controls the vocal cords
- Pneumothorax (a buildup of air around the lungs)
- Pneumomediastinum (air trapped in the lungs)
- Subcutaneous emphysema (abdominal air trapped beneath the skin near the tracheotomy site)
- Tube obstruction caused by blood clots, mucus, or airway wall pressure
- Tube aspiration, occurred in one 2014 case when a patient’s breathing tube broke and dislocated, resulting in aspiration, brain damage, and death.
Post-procedure complications may include:
- Tracheal infection and infection around the breathing tube
- Tracheal erodibility
- Granulation tissue formation
- Airway narrowing
Tracheotomies, like most medical procedures, carry some risk, and not all complications and errors rise to the level of negligence or medical malpractice. To establish medical malpractice, you must be able to demonstrate that the medical provider did something inappropriate or failed to provide the accepted standard of care or treatment and that you suffered serious harm as a result.
A tracheotomy procedure may be medically required for a variety of reasons. As with any other medical procedure, there is a risk of complications. There is also the possibility of medical malpractice occurring. Suppose you or a family member believe you or a loved one has been the victim of tracheotomy malpractice. In that case, it is critical that you learn everything you can about the procedure as well as your legal rights, including the right to compensation for your injuries.
If you are suffering from tracheotomy complications that you believe were caused by negligence or medical malpractice, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Having an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side may help you strengthen your claim. For a free consultation, contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano today. Our experienced legal team is prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.