DC Epiglottitis Medical Malpractice Attorney

The sudden or even gradual onset of difficulty breathing and swallowing can be extremely alarming, particularly when it happens to small children. In many instances, the ensuing sense of panic makes a visit to the emergency room, urgent care clinic or family doctor a clear necessity. However, when the medical professionals patients trust to quickly address the situation fail to meet the relevant standard of care in treating cases of dangerous respiratory distress, devastating outcomes can result.

Given the potentially life-altering consequences of untreated epiglottitis, victims and their families need to know that significant compensation may be available following a suspected case of malpractice.

For example, it may be possible to secure payment for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, loss of familial and financial support, continuing care, pain, suffering and emotional trauma. For many, the initiation of an epiglottitis medical malpractice claim with the help of a DC medical malpractice lawyer is the best way to pursue physician accountability and financial compensation.

What is Epiglottitis?

As articulated by the National Institutes of Health, the potentially deadly condition known as epiglottitis develops when the piece of cartilage (epiglottis) that serves to cover the windpipe becomes uncharacteristically swollen, causing a dangerous blockage of airflow to the lungs.

Swelling of the epiglottis can be triggered by a number of things, including infections, burns resulting from hot beverages and trauma to the throat, and it can happen to patients of any age.

For children, the same bacteria responsible for pneumonia, bloodstream infections and meningitis has traditionally posed a particular danger in terms of the onset of epiglottitis.

Key Symptoms 

Given its status as a true medical emergency requiring prompt treatment, it is important for everyone to be aware of the signs of epiglottitis in both children and adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, kids can experience an onset of epiglottitis in a matter of just hours, and symptoms of which to be mindful include:

  • Severe throat pain
  • Elevated temperature
  • Pain and difficulty related to swallowing
  • High-pitched noises while breathing
  • Restlessness or anxiety
  • Relief of discomfort achieved only when leaning forward or sitting upright

Adults who develop epiglottitis may experience a gradual worsening of symptoms over days instead of just hours, though the hallmarks of the condition are similar to those observed in children.

How Epiglottitis Medical Malpractice Can Occur

Patients suffering from epiglottitis who receive swift treatment with antibiotic drugs tend to recover quite well. Those whose swelling has progressed a bit further may also require intubation in order to provide additional airflow during the recovery process.

Unfortunately, there are too many instances in which cases of epiglottitis are simply missed or symptoms are attributed to alternative illnesses, resulting in a potentially fatal delay in treatment. Some common diagnostic errors and omissions which can lead to epiglottitis medical malpractice claims in DC include:

  • Failure to rule out presence of infection via throat culture
  • Failure to order blood tests to identify white cell elevations
  • Failure to order or properly interpret x-rays of epiglottis and airway
  • Failure to take comprehensive medical history
  • Failure to promptly prescribe antibiotic drugs to combat infection

When allowed to progress unabated, the infection responsible for epiglottitis can cause a patient to experience total pulmonary obstruction which can lead to profound brain damage or death. It is also possible for the infection to trigger serious ancillary infections throughout the body such as sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis.

Advocacy for Victims of Epiglottitis Medical Malpractice

Because establishing actionable medical negligence is invariably a complex, fact-intensive task, it is important for victims to align themselves with an injury attorney equipped to explore all avenues of recovery on their behalf. To discover how a DC medical malpractice lawyer with our firm can help, we invite you to contact us today.