Case #1077: Anesthesia Errors
The Plaintiff’s Decedent, then 79 years old, was being followed by the Defendant hospital personnel for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. When it had increased in size, she agreed to admission to the Defendant Hospital on January 15, for surgery.
The Plaintiff’s Decedent was taken to an operating room at the Defendant Hospital on January 15. The Plaintiff alleged that, during the course of the operation, the anesthesia team negligently failed to maintain an adequate intravascular volume with proper fluid and blood replacement. Also, the Plainitff alleged that the Defendant Hospital’s anesthesia team negligently extubated the the Plaintiff’s Decedent prematurely at completion of the procedure and subsequently transferred her to the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit). As a direct and proximate result of the fluid imbalance/dehydration and premature extubation, the Plaintiff’s Decedent was agitated upon arrival at the SICU and required sedation. Thereafter, she developed respiratory distress, respiratory acidosis, and then metabolic acidosis.
The Plaintiff alleged that contrary to the standards of care, it took forty (40) minutes instead of mere seconds to re-intubate the Plaintiff’s Decedent. During that period of time employees of the Defendant Hospital attempted mask ventilation which was inadequate, inflicted significant trauma upon the Plaintiff’s Decedent such that she had bloody output from her drains and hypotension. By the time the hospital personnel finally were successful with reintubation, the Plaintiff’s Decedent had to be taken urgently back to an operating room due to post-operative bleeding.
The Plaintiff’s Decedent required tracheostomy, left hemicolectomy as well as transverse colostomy and an infarcted kidney — all due to decreased perfusion and hypoxia from poor fluid management, premature extubation, negligent efforts to re-intubate, and the resulting post-operative bleeding. The Plaintiff’s Decedent continued on a downward spiral until she succumbed to the injuries inflicted through the negligence of these Defendants on January 23.