graemebryson—February 7, 2022
A 36-year old woman was admitted for the induction of labor following a normal prenatal course. During labor, fetal tracing became nonreassuring prompting the treating obstetrician to order an emergent cesarean section. During the procedure, the defendant anesthesiologist failed to secure the patient’s airway.
The defendant was unable to hear breath sounds on auscultation which he attributed to the misplacement of the endotrachael tube during intubation. The defendant attempted several times to replace the endotracheal tube but did not receive end-tidal CO2 indicating a failure to oxygenate and ventilate the patient.
Eventually, the endotrachael tube was placed by cricothyroidectomy and tracheostomy, however, no end-tidal CO2 was returned. Due to prolonged anoxia, the patient became bradycardic and subsequently deteriorated into pulseless electrical activity rhythm for which she was given epinephrine and atropine.
After the administration of those medications, plaintiff’s decedent’s oxygen saturation improved, however, she never recovered neurological function and subsequently died following 25 days in the intensive care unit during which time she remained on a ventilator.
By Courtney Sweasy