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Medical Verdicts

Incorrect intubation results in brain damage

November 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 11
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<court>Cook County (Ill) Circuit Court</court>

A newborn required intubation following delivery. However, a nurse anesthetist placed the breathing tube into the right mainstem bronchus instead of the trachea. By the time the problem was discovered and corrected 2 hours later, the baby had suffered pneumothorax of the right lung and a collapse of the left lung, resulting in irreversible brain damage.

In suing, the child—now 17—argued that the doctor was slow to respond to fetal distress on the monitor strips.

The doctor argued that the negligence did not cause the child’s brain injury.

  • The case settled for $18 million from the hospital and $400,000 from the physician.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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