After a dislodged breathing tube left a woman in Texas with severe and permanent brain damage, her husband has filed suit against the hospital, which he alleges was negligent in its management of his wife’s care.
Prior to the incident, the woman suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a disorder "in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system." Symptoms of the disorder include tingling sensations and weakness in the legs, which can render muscles useless depending on the severity of sensations. In severe cases, these sensations can spread throughout the body, causing wide-scale muscle paralysis which can interfere with breathing and heart rate.
The woman went to the hospital in 2013 complaining of numbness in her legs, which was attributed to her Guillain-Barre syndrome. As a precaution she was placed on a breathing machine, in the event that this numbness were to spread to the rest of her body and make breathing difficult. A breathing tube was inserted through her mouth and then through an incision made in her neck. However, the second insertion (through the incision in the neck) was done improperly, and the woman only received half of the airflow she needed. She was unable to voice this to the medical staff, as the placement of the breathing tube prevented her from speaking.
The morning after she was admitted to the hospital, she was turned by a nurse in bed. The breathing tube became dislodged. "The medical caregivers were unable to re-establish air flow for about 35 minutes, which left the woman with the permanent brain injury," according to medicalmalpracticelawyers.com. She is now in a near-comatose state which is permanent, and requires constant monitoring.
The woman’s husband filed the medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas earlier this month.