Negligent intubation is one of the leading causes of malpractice suits filed against anesthesiologists. These are also the type of doctor errors that should not occur. Intubations can either be by endotracheal or tracheostomy tube. The purpose of intubation is to provide adequate oxygen to patients who cannot breath on their own. Sometimes this is because they are undergoing surgery and general anesthesia is required. Sometimes patients need to be intubated because their medical condition is so serious they can't breathe on their own. Patients with a severe head injury will be intubated to prevent aspiration, or vomiting into their lungs. Patients with airway obstruction, such as an acute laryngeal edema, are intubed to protect and control the airway.
Residents in Chicago may be interested in a study conducted by the Journal of Patient Safety, which estimated that 440,000 people die per year as a result of medical errors. The toxicologist who ran the study asked whether hospitals were taking every step necessary to prevent doctor errors and whether they were learning from past mistakes.