Intubation is a process where doctors insert a breathing tube into the baby’s trachea and using a ventilation machine to help the baby breathe until he or she is able to breathe alone.
Breathing problems can be extremely serious for a newborn. If babies are unable to breathe properly immediately after birth, the baby could suffer from a lack of oxygen to the brain, which could cause a brain injury, permanent brain damage, or death. Doctors will monitor any baby closely for breathing problems and may recommend intubation if necessary.
Babies who need to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit (or NICU) may be placed on a ventilator after being intubated. Intubation may be used on premature babies, on babies with birth complications, and for other reasons.
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How Intubation Is Performed
Doctors can place the intubation tube into the trachea either by going through the nose or mouth. To help the baby breathe, the doctor may slide the tube down the trachea until it is just above the place where the trachea splits into two channels to go to the lungs. This type of procedure is also called endotracheal intubation.
After the tube is inserted, doctors may attach the tube to a ventilator, which is a machine that takes over the breathing process for the body. It will carry oxygen from the machine into the lungs, followed by removing carbon dioxide, just like the baby’s lungs would do if they were healthy enough.
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Dangers of Intubation
There are a number of side effects that a baby could encounter when he or she is intubated and placed on a breathing machine. If your baby has suffered any of these complications, it could be a sign that doctors did not perform the intubation correctly, which could show negligence, should you decide to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the future.
Some of the potential complications from intubation include scarring of the trachea, injury to the lungs, damage to the vocal cords, and more.
If your doctor performed an intubation on your child, and it caused your child to receive new injuries or side effects, you may want to examine the treatment for medical malpractice. Doctor negligence can also cause conditions that may require intubation to treat. In either case, if a doctor’s negligence injured your child, they may be liable for your child’s damages.
How Medical Malpractice Can Cause Birth Injuries
Sometimes, a newborn will have breathing problems that are no one’s fault. Other times, though, a mistake made by a doctor or nurse in the delivery room could lead to the need for intubation. This may include:
- Allowing the baby’s oxygen supply to be restricted or cut off during delivery
- Failing to screen for, and plan a safer alternative to, a complicated delivery
If it turns out that a doctor’s negligence put your child in a situation that required intubation, they may have committed medical malpractice. In some cases, this could mean that the doctor caused the underlying condition that required intubation.
As mentioned before, new injuries that occur due to doctor negligence during the intubation process may also qualify as medical malpractice.
In many states, proving medical malpractice may require you to present medical expert testimony that:
- The level of care you received fell below a reasonable medical standard; and that
- Another doctor acting in the same situation would have taken different actions that could have prevented the child’s injuries
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Recoverable Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
Depending on the extent and severity of your child’s injuries and the laws of your state, the following damages may be recoverable in a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Your child’s current and future costs of treatment
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Lost wages for either parent who must stop working to care for the child
- Pain and suffering
- And more
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group May Be Able to Help You
If you believe doctors could have taken different actions during your baby’s birth or post-delivery care to avoid injuries or complications, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to help you. We seek damages for families nationwide in medical malpractice lawsuits related to birth injuries.
Our firm can handle all legal work, investigations, and communications in your case when we represent you. We operate on a contingency-fee basis, meaning our clients do not pay up-front for our services. Instead, our attorney fees come out of their settlement offer or court awards, if and when they win their case.
For a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.