Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, is a serious lung dysfunction that affects about 150,000 people annually and often results in death. The causes are numerous, but ARDS can sometimes result from medical malpractice.
Patients with ARDS, which is also known as Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, experience severe shortness of breath or breathing failure, often requiring mechanical ventilation, or life support. About one-third of all cases are fatal.
ARDS is caused by accidents or external forces – a traumatic blow to the chest, breathing harmful smoke or fumes, and severe pneumonia. But its known causes also include a number of problems that can result from doctor or hospital error, things such as sharp blood loss, infections, a patient aspirating vomit, or adverse reactions to blood transfusions or heart bypass surgery. Drug overdose and negative drug interactions can also cause ARDS.
If you had a loved one who died from ARDS, you may want to call one of our an ARDS attorneys at 800-243-1100 for a free evaluation of your case.
Kline & Specter, PC, handled one ARDS case in which a 19-year-old learning disabled woman was administered drugs believed to have caused her to develop the lung syndrome. A substantial settlement was negotiated in the case in Franklin County, Pa. (See the Diehl Case.)
In perhaps the most well-known case involving ARDS, legendary sports writer and broadcaster Dick Schaap entered a New York City hospital for routine hip replacement surgery but contracted an infection that led to ARDS. He died three months later at the age of 67. His family filed a lawsuit and a jury awarded $1.95 million in the case.
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What Is ARDS?
ARDS, acute respiratory distress syndrome, is a lung condition that causes low levels of oxygen in your bloodstream. This happens when there is a fluid buildup in the tiny air sacs in your lungs.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome?
The most notable symptoms of ARDS are shortness of breath, labored breathing, and low levels of oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia). Other symptoms of ARDS may include fatigue, coughing, and a fever.
How Is ARDS Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of ARDS typically involves a clinical examination and radiological examinations, such as X-rays and CT scans. Oxygen levels in your blood may also be monitored to determine if they are too low.
Am I at Risk of Developing ARDS?
Individuals with a history of heavy tobacco use, ongoing smokers, and those who have chronic lung or heart disease may be at risk for developing ARDS. In some cases, people who have undergone certain major surgical interventions may also be at a higher risk of developing ARDS.
How Is ARDS Treated?
Treatment of ARDS involves identifying the underlying cause and supportive care. In extreme cases, treatment may involve mechanical ventilation, medication to prevent infection, and fluid management.
What Are the Possible Complications of ARDS?
Some of the most common complications of ARDS include fibrosis (lung scarring), pneumothorax (collapsed lung), infections, and blood clots. In severe cases, ARDS can also lead to organ failure.
Is ARDS Contagious?
No, ARDS is not contagious. However, some of the potential causes of ARDS, like certain types of infections, may be contagious. That is why it is so important to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Is the Prognosis for Someone With ARDS?
The prognosis of someone with ARDS will depend on its severity, their overall health, and the actual cause. While many people can recover, ARDS can be life-threatening and can lead to long-term lung damage.
We represent clients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and nationwide.
Kline & Specter, with more than 50 experienced attorneys, five of whom are also highly skilled doctors, has the expertise to litigate cases involving Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. For more information, read about the law firm’s Medical Malpractice cases and Major Victories.
Call Kline & Specter at 800-243-1100 to speak with an experienced ARDS lawyer today. We represent clients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide.