Clogged Breathing Tubes: Causes & Treatments

When someone goes to the hospital for surgery, the anesthesiologist will need to determine whether it is necessary to have a breathing tube inserted or not. The tube typically goes in through the mouth and continues down through the windpipe, but in other cases, the breathing tube is inserted directly through the nose.

What are some of the reasons for needing a breathing tube?

The purpose of a breathing tube is, on one hand, to ensure that the person gets enough oxygen, and, on the other, to protect their lungs from being contaminated with blood or other fluids such as stomach fluids.

Hospital and nursing homes rely on breathing tubes when their patients:

  • Are unable to breathe on their own
  • Are undergoing major surgery
  • Have had a drug overdose
  • Have suffered a severe injury
  • Have had a stroke
  • Have bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Suffer from ALS
  • Have experienced a brain injury
  • Present a serious illness that does not allow them to breathe normally

What causes a clogged breathing tube?

The three most common causes of a clogged breathing tube are:

  • Food
  • Mucus
  • Saliva

There are a number of other causes, as well, all of which the medical staff will be monitoring throughout the procedure.

What health conditions can result from a clogged breathing tube?

It’s patently obvious that breathing is vital to everybody’s health. Not being able to breathe is bad enough, and having a breathing tube that gets clogged can have major consequences such as:

  • The perforation of the airways
  • Heart attacks
  • Choking
  • Arrhythmia or hypertension
  • Trauma to the mouth
  • Damage to the nasal passages and/or vocal cords
  • Many other additional injuries, including death.

How long can a breathing tube be used?

A breathing tube is typically used for a short period of time. Generally, it can stay in for up to two weeks. In some cases, inducing a coma is necessary for continued use. Most people in intensive care only require it for three or four days. In nursing homes, elderly residents might use breathing tubes for longer periods of time.

Have you found your loved one with a clogged breathing tube?

Going to a nursing home to visit a loved one and discovering an issue with their breathing tube can be traumatic. If the breathing tube does not allow them to communicate what they are experiencing, by the time someone shows up to help, it might be too late.

If you have doubts as to how often their breathing tube is checked and cleaned, make sure to get the answers you seek. Don’t think you are overstepping your boundaries by asking. Your silence could end up harming your loved one.

If you find signs that your loved one is being neglected or if your requests are not getting a satisfactory response from the nursing home staff, it may be time to consider legal guidance.

Do you need legal help for issues related to a clogged breathing tube?

There are many residents in nursing homes who depend on a functioning breathing tube to stay alive. A breathing tube helps them receive the oxygen they desperately need to breathe. A clogged breathing tube can trigger immediate issues such as a brain injury or death within minutes. If your loved one has suffered an injury or died due to a clogged breathing tube, our team of compassionate nursing home attorneys will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Set up an appointment today.