Dangers of Paramedic Intubation Errors

There's No Substitute for Experience

When someone suffers a traumatic injury, the first people on the scene are usually emergency medical technicians. They embody a light of hope in a dangerous and hopeful situation. However, in cases of high risk, it is important that these technicians proceed with care and precision. This can be hard to do in the hectic environment in which they work. These intense circumstances can cause the paramedics to overlook important procedures or protocols that can lead to lasting injuries.

Unfortunately, errors can occur during paramedic endotracheal intubation (ETI). This procedure requires a steady hand and unflinching focus. Often performed on individuals who have suffered a cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, or other trauma, paramedic intubation is meant to save lives. During the procedure, paramedics place a plastic tube into a patient’s windpipe to help them breathe. EMTs have been using this method in the United States for over 25 years. However, there are dangers tied with it.

Common intubation errors include:

  • Misplaced tube
  • Inadvertent oxygen saturation
  • Not noting misplaced tubes
  • Disturbance in heart rhythm

These errors have the potential to cause lasting harm and injuries. According to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, there is an average of 25% chance of error in all out-of-hospital intubation procedures. Researchers credit this to the inadequate amount of training paramedics receive compared to physicians. Studies show that a typical physician’s trainee received an average of 50-100 hours of ETI training. Comparatively, the average paramedic student simply receives 6-10 hours. For individuals who must work in high stress environments, maybe more training would be beneficial.

At Kinnard Law, we believe you deserve proper care and treatment in times of emergencies. Our qualified medical malpractice attorneys have served clients all across Nashville. If you have been a victim of a paramedic intubation injury, contact us today. We will review your case and inform you of your legal rights.

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