A 29-year-old woman, who had been suffering from left facial palsy, died 3.5 hours after undergoing stellate ganglion block (SGB). Autopsy revealed subcutaneous emphysema of the body, bilateral pneumothorax and a huge post-tracheal hematoma. The lower half of the trachea was markedly flattened by pressure from this hematoma. The cause of death was certified as airway obstruction due to a post-tracheal hematoma following SGB. The doctor cut both the anterior and the posterior wall of the trachea, because the trachea was flattened by the hematoma. He then intubated and sent air into the post-tracheal space. We consider that the patient could have recovered if she had received the correct tracheotomy. We therefore conclude that there was professional error on the part of the doctor in the form of medical malpractice.
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