Tyrod Taylor was about to start off the season as the new Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback. Before the second game of the season, a team doctor was going to administer painkillers to Taylor’s chest for a cracked ribs injury. However, instead of inserting the needle into the tissue around the rib, the doctor punctured Taylor’s lung, causing the lung to collapse.
Taylor was apparently not angry or upset with the doctor, or at least that is what the team player said publicly. According to the team coach, the doctor “just made a mistake.” However, the NFL Players Association initiated an investigation into what happened.
Pneumothorax or Collapsed Lung
A collapsed lung, or pneumothorax, is a serious event. A collapsed lung occurs when air leaks into the area between the lungs and chest wall. The pressure outside the lung causes the lung to collapse inward, partially or fully. A collapsed lung makes it difficult to breathe and the individual may face hypoxia or lowered oxygen intake as a result.
Depending on the extent of the injury, a pneumothorax may repair on its own, remove air from the area between the lungs and chest wall, or it may require surgery to close the puncture.
Is a Lung Puncture Medical Malpractice?
Injecting painkillers into the chest carries some risk of a lung puncture but it is still relatively rare. Whether or not a lung puncture is caused by medical malpractice may depend on a number of factors. If the doctor was not following the standards of care as other doctors would in a similar situation, the doctor may have negligently caused the injury and could be liable for damages.
However, before a doctor could be found to have committed medical malpractice, the injury victim would have to file a lawsuit for damages. In this case, the patient is a professional football player that is still on the payroll of the NFL team. While still on the team and if the player does not suffer long-term damage, it may be unlikely that the player will file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor.
For most people, they do not have the luxury of having their employer provide a team doctor for treatment and maintain employment after an injury. For example, if a factor worker got a painkiller injection for a rib injury which resulted in a collapsed lung, the patient may not be able to return to work for days or weeks. The injury victim may be left facing expensive medical bills, lost wages, and possible permanent injuries. In order to get compensation, most victims of medical negligence have to take their case to court.
Help After a Medical Error Causes Injury
If a family member suffered an injury while under a doctor’s care, there may be help available. At Gilman & Bedigian, we are committed to helping patients and families who have been injured by medical malpractice to obtain compensation. To speak with a member of our personal injury team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.
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