Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is an injury to the lungs that some patients may develop as a result of medical malpractice. This serious condition can affect the normal functioning of the lungs, resulting in the rapid onset of shortness of breath and, in some cases, the inability to breath at all.

Although there is no cure for ARDS, there are treatment options that help promote healing of the lungs. However, even with treatment, the condition is often fatal. It leads to death in more than 50% of those who develop the syndrome. If you have been diagnosed with ARDS because of a health provider’s error, the attorneys at Raynes & Lawn may be able to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions About ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome)

What is ARDS?

ARDS develops when fluid fills the air sacs in the lungs. The fluid limits oxygen flow and increases carbon monoxide in the bloodstream. ARDS can limit the oxygen vital organs need to function and may eventually lead to organ failure.

How Common is ARDS?

There are about 150,000 cases of ARDS reported each year in the United States.

What Other Complications are Caused by ARDS?

Aside from lung issues, other complications can result from ARDS and other potentially fatal conditions can be the cause of ARDS. Damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and severe infection in the blood are frequently seen with ARDS. Damage to these other organs may require additional treatments outside of the standard regimen for ARDS.

Symptoms of Medical Malpractice Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS is most common in those who are very ill or hospitalized but can also be found in those who have suffered blunt force trauma. Symptoms usually occur within a day or two of the illness or injury. Common ARDS symptoms include:

  • labored breathing;
  • rapid breathing;
  • low blood pressure;
  • muscle fatigue and weakness;
  • bluish skin color;
  • coughing;
  • fever;
  • headache;
  • fast pulse;
  • mental confusion.

Once symptoms develop, a medical professional will usually take an x-ray. If ARDS is present, it will show an accumulation of fluid on the lungs, which is concurrent with ARDS. Diagnosis of ARDS can be tricky, however, because ARDS is clinically similar to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). The difference between the two involves the pressure of the Pulmonary Artery. CHF will have an elevated pressure and a weakening of the left ventricle. The doctor may conduct additional testing to rule out other diseases.

Treatment Options for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Although current treatments are not necessarily a cure, they may help promote the healing of the lungs and lessen some symptoms. Usually, ARDS gets worse in the days following diagnosis. Here are some common treatments that ARDS patients may receive:

  • Ventilator Support – Perhaps the most critical treatment is ventilation support. Patients with ARDS will require oxygen to survive. Often, oxygen is not enough, and patients will have to be put on a ventilator to provide continuous therapy through a tube usually inserted into the trachea or windpipe.
  • Prone Positioning – Most patients in the hospital rest on their backs, but with ARDS, patients must lie in a downward-facing position to help promote higher oxygen levels in the blood. This positioning can be challenging to accomplish; however, the ICU usually has specialized beds that can help.
  • Medication – Being supported by a ventilator is very uncomfortable, and movement can cause more agitation to the lungs, which is not ideal for the healing process. Often, medical personnel give medications and sedatives to help with comfort and keep the patient calm and still.
  • Fluid Management – Sometimes, a patient is given a diuretic to help get rid of fluids, which aids in the reduction of fluid in the lungs. However, this process must be strictly regulated, as a loss of too much fluid can result in low blood pressure or kidney problems.
  • ECMO – Some patients receive ECMO treatment. This treatment takes blood outside of the patient’s body, then puts it through a membrane that adds oxygen and removes carbon dioxide before being pumped back into the body. This treatment is high-risk and is only used on select individuals.

Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a blow to the chest, toxic exposure, severe pneumonia or other underlying medical condition. In recent years, there have been a growing number of cases of ARDS caused by the negligence of medical professionals. Some ways a medical professional’s negligence may result in ARDS include:

  • Failure to prevent excessive blood loss;
  • Failure to prevent, detect, or treat infections;
  • Error in administering a blood transfusion;
  • Error in a surgical procedure;
  • Mistake in medication dosage and cross-reactions.

Resolving Your ARDS Medical Malpractice Matter

Doctors have a duty of care to their patients. When an error is made that results in an injury to a patient, medical facilities and the professionals employed by them may go to great lengths to protect themselves from liability.

Do I Need an ARDS Attorney?

Medical malpractice cases are highly complex, and you will need the support of an attorney who regularly handles these kinds of cases. The attorneys at Raynes & Lawn are able to negotiate settlements outside of court, as well as go to bat for victims in the courtroom. If we take you on as a client, our team will work on building a compelling, evidence-based argument to support your claim.

As you are recovering from ARDS, the last thing you should have to worry about is how you are going to pay your medical bills. Our attorneys can help you from beginning to end so that you can focus on your health, knowing that we will do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve.

What Compensation Can Be Recovered?

As an ARDS victim, you may never fully recover, forcing you to live with reduced lung capacity as well as a variety of other complications. In extreme cases, a surviving victim could be left with severe brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. Many victims also face depression, anxiety and other ancillary conditions.

ARDS victims deserve compensation for their injuries. You may be entitled to receive compensation for lifelong healthcare, medical expenses, loss of income, as well as pain and suffering.

If a medical professional has acted negligently, causing you or a loved one to develop ARDS, it is crucial that you contact an acute respiratory distress syndrome lawyer. The attorneys at Raynes & Lawn are here to help you fight for your rights. To schedule a consultation, call us at (800) 535-1797 or fill out our contact form today.

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