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Michigan family sues hospital over failed intubation

A West Michigan family who lost one of its members in 2010 in during a botched emergency room visit is reportedly suing the hospital that administered the improper care for medical malpractice. The boy, according to sources, had been brought into the hospital after he asphyxiated in a bathtub and was revived by a family member.

By the time the boy arrived at the hospital, his oxygen levels were dropping. The issue in the case is that hospital staff caring for the boy were unsuccessful in providing him oxygen through a tube for over 20 minutes after his arrival. The day after the failed attempts at intubation, the boy was pronounced dead. 

It isn’t exactly clear why the boy’s oxygen level decreased just before going into the hospital, but it was found that he had fluid in his lungs. According to a medical expert hired by the boy’s family, it is critical to use the right size tube when intubating a patient. It is also important to ventilate in appropriately, and to do all of this in as quickly as possible. The expert said the issue was not pulmonary death, but brain death.

Cases like this are certainly sad, and it can be difficult for family to revisit such an incident in a legal context where they are challenged by the defendant. Doing so is sometimes the only way, though, to obtain the compensation one deserves.

In this case, the use of expert witnesses is an interesting point to highlight. Utilizing expert witnesses certainly adds to the overall cost of medical malpractice litigation, but it is often necessary when the standard of care is at issue. The standard of care is the benchmark level of care that is expected to be provided in a given situation. Failure to meet such an established standard is grounds for medical malpractice, provided the other elements of the cause of action are met. 

Source: Fox17, Jessica McMaster 

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