Negligent Use of a Tracheostomy Tube and Hospital's Failure to Monitor
During jury selection, Jason Rubin settled a medical malpractice case involving the death of a 78 year old man as a result of a doctor's negligent use of a fenestrated tracheostomy tube and a hospital's failure to monitor after placement of the tube.
Decedent was admitted to the hospital and underwent coronary artery bypass surgery. He had a complicated course after the procedure, requiring him to receive mechanical ventilation and a tracheostomy. Approximately two weeks after the tracheostomy, the defendant doctor changed the tracheostomy tube from a standard tube to a fenestrated tube- a tracheostomy tube with a hole in it to allow the patient to breath through the mouth and phonate when the tube is capped and the cuff is deflated. Within 50 minutes of the tube change, decedent was found by the doctor pulseless, apneic (not breathing) and cyanotic (blue). He was resuscitated but suffered severe anoxic brain injury, putting him in a vegetative state for seven months before he died.
We claimed that the doctor was negligent in placing a fenestrated tracheostomy tube because decedent was acutely ill and not physically capable of breathing on his own through his mouth at that time. Additionally, we claimed that the hospital was negligent in failing to adequately monitor decedent after the tube change and allowing his condition to progress to cardiac arrest and anoxic brain injury.
Jason was able to obtain this settlement against both the doctor and hospital notwithstanding the fact that there was scant evidence that decedent experienced conscious pain and suffering while in a vegetative state.