Many of the devices and instruments used to treat patients, administer medication, deliver nutrition and assist operative functions rely on tubing. Patients often rely on multiple devices such as catheters, intravenous lines and feeding tubes during hospital stays and the consequences of mismanaging the use of these devices can be devastating and grave. Whenever human error or lack of precautionary measures results in injury or death, it is the responsibility of the at fault employee and the hospital to provide compensation for the treatment of the resulting injuries and any out of pocket expenses that result from the injuries or their economic impact on the victim.
What Causes Medical Tubing Errors?
Medical tubing comes in a wide variety of forms and is used for a plethora of reasons and purposes. Whenever patients require the use of multiple tubing devices, it is possible for nurses and attending staff to make errors that result in medical complications or bodily harm. Examples of tubing errors include the following.
- Medications intended for IV use are administered through the wrong device— equipment such as nebulizers and epidural catheters use tubing that is similar to that used for an IV and if medication that should be administered through an IV is instead administered through a different device, it can cause severe complications that include adult respiratory distress syndrome, paralysis, meningitis and brain damage.
- Feeding formulas are connected to the wrong device— if a feeding tube were to be connected to an IV, the food would be transported directly to the blood stream rather than the stomach, where it could be digested properly. Similarly, if the feeding tube were connected to a catheter intended for dialysis, the food would be delivered to the peritoneal cavity and place the patient at danger of developing peritonitis.
- Connecting tubing meant for mechanical blood pressure control or air compression to an IV— when this occurs, oxygen is pumped directly into the blood, which creates multiple pulmonary embolisms and can quickly result in severe brain damage or death.
- Administering solutions through an IV that are intended for other lines or devices— complications can arise when improper solutions or medications are received through an intravenous line, placing the patient at risk of developing severe complications.
Injuries Suffered due to Medical Tubing Errors
The impact of any medical tubing error varies depending on the type of error and the promptness in which it has been noticed. Conditions that may result from these errors include infections of the organs directly impacted by the lines, pulmonary embolism, adult respiratory distress syndrome, stroke, heart complications, paralysis, and brain damage and, in extreme cases, death.
Most of these injuries are the result of overworked and stressed hospital staff members who are in a hurry to move on to the next patient and who don’t pay complete attention to what they are doing. Whenever the injuries caused by carelessness forever change the quality of the victim’s life or have a drastic financial impact on the victim and his or her family, it is perfectly reasonable to demand that those responsible are held accountable.
Tubing Malpractice Awards
$3,000,000 Settlement; Tubing Malpractice; Chicago, Illinois
The victim in this malpractice lawsuit was just seven months old at the time of the events. Her parents brought her to Stroger Hospital because she wouldn't eat and ran a temperature. She stayed there for some time. Doctors and the nursing staff attended to her. Eventually, she seemed to get better. However, as they got her ready to leave, the attending physician ordered a G-Tube to be placed down her throat so she could eat at home easier. In order to do this, the medical team needed to anesthetize her. However, in the course of that procedure, the tube was misplaced. This caused her to suffer from oxygen deprivation. She experienced a massive brain injury and died not long after that intubation error. Her parents sued the hospital for wrongful death. They claimed the defendants' negligence directly caused their baby girl's death. They sought compensation for that injustice, the baby's pain while alive, the loss from her passing, and related harms. The defendant agreed to a $3 million settlement.
$4,750,000 Settlement; Tubing Malpractice; Chicago, Illinois
The events of this case highlight the need for hospital staff to act with speed and skill. The victim was an infant at just six months old. He was born premature. This had a number of consequences including heart problems. Doctors had to perform a surgery in order correct the defect with his heart. As the baby lay in recovery, he started to have difficulty breathing. He also experienced other side effects. The staff on call phoned the attending cardiovascular surgeon. However, it took that doctor nearly a half hour to arrive. In that time, no one placed a tube into his chest so that he could maintain proper breathing. The result was terrible. He fell into cardiac arrest and sustained a massive brain injury. The damages were devastating. The medical bills alone totaled over two million dollars. Plus, he would live for the rest of his life in a disabled state with constant need for care. Lawyers for the boy brought a case against the hospital. They alleged that the failure to intubate the boy caused these developments. They reasoned that it was negligent not to do so in those circumstances and that the defendants were liable for the plaintiff's damages because of it. The defendant demurred on this logic. Eventually, both sides settled for $4.75 million. That was to cover his past and future pain, bills, and suffering.
$800,000 Settlement; Tubing Malpractice; Chicago, Illinois
This dispute shows how fast events during surgery take place and the need to operate in a cautious manner. The patient was a female in her early thirties. She suffered from obesity and other issues. Doctors were performing surgery for an unrelated reason. During that operation, the anesthesiologist was supposed to place a lumen tube. This would ensure that pleural fluid did not fill the lung. The anesthesiologist tried a few times to no avail. Interestingly, the surgery moved on at the regular clip despite that failure. When they turned the woman on her side, fluid ran right into her lung because of the lack of tubing. This brought on cardiac arrest and sent her into a coma. After being in that state for about one year, she died. Her husband survived her. He brought a lawsuit against the hospital and attending doctors including the anesthesiologist. His complaint was concise: the defendants' failure to place a tube prior to turning her directly caused her death. There was no obvious way for the defendants to dodge this contention. Instead, the parties settled the matter for a reported $800,000.
$2,875,000 Settlement; Tubing Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This case involved one half of a set of twins. The female in that pair was healthy but the boy was not. He experienced heart troubles (hypoplastic heart syndrome). His parents brought him to the emergency room one day because he would not eat, had diarrhea, and showed other symptoms. The doctors tried almost one dozen times to intubate him and give him an IV so they he could be hydrated and fed. They were unsuccessful. The doctors consulted a cardiologist because they were concerned about cardiac arrest. That specialist told them to use a sedative and give the child water orally. The staff on call only did the former. The child only received a sedative. Consequently, he became extremely dehydrated, his heart rate fell, and he had a heart attack which took his life. His family sued for wrongful death. They claimed that his original problem (hypoplastic heart syndrome) did not threaten him immediately. It was only the malpractice of the defendants which endangered and ultimately killed him they claimed, especially with regards to the tubing failure. This case eventually went to court where a jury gave the family a verdict over five million dollars. The parties privately settled though for a reported $2.87 million. That compensation came from the attending physicians as well as the facility itself where the events occurred.
Call Us and Learn About Your Right to Recover!
If you are the victim of a medical tubing error, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to speak with an attorney and learn more about your rights as a patient and how you may be able to recover compensation for the treatment of your injuries, your pain and suffering and any additional loss you have endured as a result. We will evaluate all of the details of your case and review your legal options with you during a free consultation and answer any additional questions you might have about the legal process, your odds of success and how best you should proceed.
It is our goal to provide our services to anyone who has been injured— regardless of their financial condition and for this reason we will never require payment upfront. We will only receive payment once we have secured compensation on your behalf and if we fail to do so, our services will be free of charge.