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Post-Operative Respiratory Failure

Medical Negligence Lawyers Based in the Ocala Area

After a patient undergoes surgery, there may be serious pulmonary complications like respiratory failure. When respiratory failure occurs, the lungs fail to properly complete one or more of their main tasks, such as bringing in oxygen from the air and pushing it into the bloodstream and removing any carbon dioxide from the blood. If you or a loved one suffered post-operative respiratory failure and believe that it resulted from medical malpractice, you should consult the Ocala medical malpractice attorneys at the Dean Law Firm.

Post-Operative Respiratory Failure Can Lead to Serious Consequences

Post-operative respiratory failure can hinder or prevent recovery from surgery. It can include pulmonary emboli, pneumonia, aspiration, adult respiratory distress syndrome, and other conditions. If the lungs are not able to bring in oxygen from the air or bring it to the bloodstream, the oxygen levels in the blood will become dangerously low. However, if the lungs are not able to remove carbon dioxide from the blood through air that is exhaled, the carbon dioxide levels will be dangerously high.

It is crucial to carefully monitor patients after a surgery. There are certain patients who are more likely to develop a significant pulmonary complication. These include patients who went through coronary artery bypass grafting, head and neck procedures, or thoracic surgery. These also include patients who reacted negatively to anesthesia, suffered a high-level spinal cord injury or serious head trauma, have chronic lung disease, are obese, or actively smoke.

Signs of respiratory failure include shortness of breath, confusion, and disorientation triggered by low oxygen levels and high levels of carbon dioxide. When there is not enough oxygen inhaled from the blood, hypoxemic respiratory failure may occur; the symptoms can include blue-tinged skin and unusual heartbeat. However, if carbon dioxide is not adequately removed, signs can include coma or headache.

When treating post-operative respiratory failure, doctors are supposed to administer oxygen. The underlying source of the patient’s problems should be treated after that in the form of antibiotics provided to treat lung infections. When breathing stays weak after identifying the reason for the respiratory failure, a patient may need the help of a ventilator to assist him or her in breathing. After a patient has been stabilized, a respiratory therapist may help in the recovery process by using methods like postural drainage and lung suctioning to help remove any extra fluid from the lungs or airways and by showing the patient exercises to help him or her get strength back for the purposes of breathing.

Doctors and nurses are supposed to look for signs of respiratory failure after a surgery. If they fail to diagnose and treat post-operative respiratory failure, they may be liable for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs if a health care provider's actions do not meet the accepted professional standards of practice and care and as a result cause injuries or death to a patient. Generally, the professional standard of care is the way that a reasonably prudent medical professional in the same specialty would have behaved under the same or similar circumstances. The professional standard of care includes a number of factors, such as the patient's medical history, age, and risk factors. Sometimes it varies geographically. Your attorney will need to retain an experienced and credible expert to testify about what the professional standard of care was, whether it was breached, and whether the breach caused injuries.

Discuss Your Potential Claim with an Ocala Attorney

After a surgery, it is necessary that physicians and nurses carefully monitor the patient to make sure that the recovery is going as planned. At the Dean Law Firm, our aggressive Ocala trial lawyers may be able to sue a doctor or medical practice on your behalf if you or a loved one was harmed by improperly treated or diagnosed post-operative respiratory failure. We serve patients harmed by medical negligence across Florida, including in Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or through our online form.