Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law
Call for a free consultation
Local 713-364-0314713-364-0314 Toll Free 877-202-0835 877-202-0835

There's a reason they tell you not to eat before surgery

You may not even want to eat after midnight until a doctor tells you that you can't. Suddenly, you feel hungrier than ever. More than likely, during your preoperative appointment, no one took the time to explain why this rule exists. Surely, something small wouldn't make a difference. Actually, it could.

Your body has natural defenses that prevent food, stomach juices and other foreign matter from moving from your stomach into your lungs. When under anesthesia, those defenses, such as your gag reflex, are suppressed. If the anesthesiologist fails to take certain precautions prior to the administration of anesthesia and monitor you closely during your procedure, you could aspirate, which means that particulates from your stomach moved into your lungs. It could cause a number of respiratory issues, some of which could endanger your life.

You could suffer from a lung infection

If you aspirate during surgery, you could develop a lung abscess, in which pus builds up in the lungs, or pneumonia. Both infections share similar symptoms, including the following:

  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

You could also suffer from cyanosis, which causes a bluish tinge to the skin due to a lack of oxygen. Your sputum could also have a foul smell. If you suffer from a lung infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, and if you have a lung abscess, it may be necessary to undergo surgery to drain it.

You could develop penumonitis

This inflammation of your lungs comes from the aspiration of gastric juices during surgery. The acids from your stomach irritate and burn your airway and lungs, which causes the following:

  • Swelling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bronchial tube restriction
  • Wheezing
  • Bleeding from your alveoli
  • Rapid pulse
  • Partial lung collapse
  • Fever
  • Coughing

You may need to be on a respirator or supplemental oxygen therapy, especially if you develop this condition within the first two hours after your procedure.

You could suffer from ARDS

If you suffer from adult respiratory distress syndrome, the air sacs in your lungs have filled with fluid. Medical personnel should monitor you for the following symptoms:

  • Labored and rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low blood pressure

You may require mechanical ventilation or supplemental oxygen. If placed on mechanical ventilation, you run the risk of a lung collapsing. Even after successful treatment, the tissue between the air sacs in your lungs could sustain significant scarring. Pulmonary fibrosis, the term used for this scarring, makes your lung stiff. You could suffer permanent cognitive and lung damage. Anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of patients who suffer from ARDS don't survive.

Could any of these conditions have been prevented?

The answer to this question is maybe. The only way to know whether your anesthesiologist made an error that could have prevented the additional harm you suffered due to aspiration is through a thorough investigation of the preoperative, operative and post-operative circumstances. Any irregularities could lead to allegations of medical malpractice.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Contact Davis & Davis for a Complimentary Consultation Davis & Davis proudly accepts referrals from Texas attorneys and law firms nationwide.

D&Ds Mobile Office

D&D's Mobile Office D&Ds Mobile Office

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law
440 Louisiana St.
Suite 1850
Houston, TX 77002

Phone: 713-364-0314
Phone: 713-364-0314
Houston Law Office Map

Houston Office Map

With Davis & Davis's mobile office, we can meet you anywhere in Texas within 2 hours.