An anesthesiology expert witness advises on a case involving the decedent, who was in his 60s, was seen in the emergency room for severe abdominal pain. He was evaluated and diagnosed with an incarcerated ventral hernia. He had a significant history of COPD. Late at night, he was taken to the operating room for emergency repair of the hernia and release of a small bowel obstruction. After administration of anesthesia, the anesthesiologist performed a rapid-sequence intubation. After surgery, decedent was taken to the recovery room, where he was intubated and ventilated. It was determined that the endotracheal tube should be moved and it was withdrawn several centimeters. Soon after this, significant subcutaneous air was noted, and it was discovered that he had a large tracheal injury. This injury proved fatal.
Decedent’s survivor filed a negligence action against the hospital and anesthesiologist.