Clogged Breathing Tubes
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National Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
Medical staff uses endotracheal tubes, or breathing tubes, to open a patient’s airway and increase oxygen intake. The tubes are usually attached to ventilators, or breathing machines, to keep oxygen intake consistent. If a nursing home doctor, nurse or other staff member fails to properly insert or monitor the tube, serious suffocation and choking risks can arise.
If your loved one experiences breathing difficulties due to medical conditions such as pneumonia, asthma or COPD, he or she may require the occasional short-term use of breathing tubes and ventilators. Even if your loved one does not have one of these conditions, staff may need to insert a breathing tube into his or her trachea, or wind pipe, for one of the following reasons:
To increase the amount of oxygen your loved one takes in
To clear mucus out of your loved one’s lungs
To keep your loved one’s wind pipe open
If your loved one continues to experience breathing difficulties, his or her care staff may choose to remove the breathing tube and perform a tracheotomy. This procedure involves creating a small hole in the neck that will keep the airway open.
How a Breathing Tube Gets Clogged
Food can enter the tube from either end. Saliva or phlegm may also find its way in. Under normal care and supervision, staff would remove any obstruction and no harm would occur to your loved one. However, in situations where a nursing home is understaffed or the existing staff is negligent, either by design or through improper training, these obstructions can lead to oxygen deprivation or cardiac arrest. Severe clogged breathing tube cases lead to permanent brain damage, early mortality and even death.
Clogged breathing tubes, similar to choking, can cause brain damage, and even death because the brain is deprived of oxygen.
While such an injury may appear to be accidental, nursing homes can be held accountable. If the choking occurred because the patient was not properly monitored and this led to a clogged breathing tube, it is the fault of the nursing home, and your loved one may have a nursing home abuse case.
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should take action quickly and contact us online or call us at 866.441.1417 to set up a free consultation. Someone from our team is available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.