A tracheostomy is a surgical hole made in the neck and trachea (also known as the windpipe). A tracheostomy may need to be done in cases of injury where the upper part of the respiratory tract is so damaged that air cannot pass through. It may also be utilized if a physical obstruction (such as something swallowed) is lodged in the windpipe. In the case of ventilator use, a tube may be inserted through a tracheostomy down into the lungs. Some medical conditions result in a blocked airway and require tracheostomies, such as problems with the vocal cords and throat cancer. Tracheostomy is also used to suction the lower airway in people with impaired ability to clear this area on their own. Mostly, tracheostomy is a delicate procedure performed in a hospital. Sometimes, however, emergencies arise where it would need to be done to reestablish an airway and save a person’s life. Immediate complications of tracheostomy are:

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Subcutaneous emphysema (air going into a space other than airways and lungs)

  • Tracheal trauma or injury

Long-term complications of tracheostomy are:

  • Fistula formation

  • Tracheal tube displacement or obstruction

  • Tracheal narrowing

  • Scar tissue formation within the trachea

Trachea tube displacement or obstruction happens in hospital and nursing home settings. This results in vital airflow being cut off to the patient. Inadequate oxygen (anoxia) can result in organ damage or death within minutes.

If you or a loved one experienced harm or a death due to improper performance of a tracheostomy or an issue with a trachea tube (displacement, obstruction, failure of the tubing or ventilator), you may be eligible for damages. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a medical malpractice case. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.