Postoperative respiratory failure is a serious condition in which the lungs are unable to regulate the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the bloodstream, respectively. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers routinely represent clients who have been injured by the failure of their physicians’ failure to do their due diligence following operative procedures. All patients that are at risk of respiratory failure need to be monitored closely so that they can be treated the moment they exhibit symptoms of this condition and the severity of the complications experienced increases the longer the patient remains undiagnosed and untreated.
Primary Risk Factors for Postoperative Respiratory Failure
Anyone undergoing a surgical procedure is at some risk of postoperative respiratory failure, but there are specific risk factors that make some patients more prone than others. The type of procedure, medical history of the patient and other health factors must be considered by the surgeon and supporting staff prior to the surgery and during recovery so that patients who are at an elevated risk are monitored more closely. Here are the factors most likely to contribute to respiratory failure following an operative procedure.
- The type of procedure— surgical procedures performed on the neck and head place the patient at a greater risk as do thoracic procedures and coronary artery bypass grafting.
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia— patients who react poorly to certain anesthetic agents may be unable to breathe due to the failure of the muscles responsible for breathing.
- History of lung disease— if the patient has asthma or has had respiratory infections in the past, he or she is at an elevated risk of respiratory failure following surgery.
- Obesity— if the patient is obese, he or she may experience difficulty breathing during or following the procedure.
- History of smoking— smoking causes diminished lung function and conditions such as emphysema and heart disease, placing smokers and ex-smokers in the elevated risk group.
It is the Responsibility of Hospital Staff to Recognize the Symptoms
The symptoms of respiratory failure can be rather obvious and the failure of hospital staff to diagnose and treat postoperative respiratory failure can be classified as a breach of the duty of care. Our Illinois medical negligence attorneys evaluate the response time of hospital staff and whether they were monitoring patients at regular intervals when investigating these types of claims. The symptoms of respiratory failure include low blood oxygen levels, shortness of breath, disorientation, confusion, increased or decreased heart rate, bluish colored skin or loss of consciousness. Some patients slip into a coma and may or may not come out of it.
When treating this condition, the first step is to immediately administer oxygen to raise blood oxygen levels while investigating the exact cause of the respiratory failure. Infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, a pulmonary embolism or edema and atelectasis are some of the common causes. The hesitation of a doctor to identify and diagnose the condition responsible for the respiratory failure can also result in additional injury. If you or a loved one suffered from postoperative respiratory failure, you can be sure our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers will not stop digging until we’ve found out what went wrong and who was responsible.
Protecting the Rights of Those in Need
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is the leading personal injury law firm in the Chicago area and our award winning attorneys have successfully recovered compensation on behalf of thousands of clients who have been injured due to the failure of their doctors and caregivers to identify their condition and provide prompt treatment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and what you could expect from the legal process.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers work solely on a contingency basis, meaning we can provide our services to anyone who is in need of them, regardless of their financial standing. If we fail to collect compensation on your behalf, you are assured that we will not collect a fee.