Negligent Re-Insertion of Feeding Tube Can Cause Death
Every year, numerous patients in hospitals across the country have naso-gastric ("NG") feeding tubes inserted for a variety of reasons, including situations in which a patient is unable to eat independently because they are on a ventilator or they are simply unable to tolerate solid foods. In every instance, however, it is critical that the feeding tube is inserted properly; i.e., that it terminates into into a patient's stomach and, does not in any circumstance, be erroneously placed into either of the patient's lungs. In another common occurrence, a patient may dislodge or partially dislodge their NG tube requiring reinsertion. If the health care provider is not careful, he or she may mistakenly reinsert the NG tube into the lung as opposed to the stomach region. In either of these circumstance, when the tube feeding is resumed, the food will obviously pass into the patient's lung as opposed to the stomach, likely resulting in an aspiration ("going down the wrong pipe"). This is a classic example of medical negligence or medical mistake that is easily preventable. The consequences depend on the volume, chemical composition, particle size, and infectious agents contained in the food, as well as the underlying health status of the patient. People with significant underlying disease or injury, and in particular hospitalized patients who are on ventilators to assist their breathing, are at an increased risk for developing respiratory complications from the aspiration. These complications usually include the development of respiratory pneumonia and even death. As noted above, this medical negligence is easily preventable by the health care provider simply taking the time to have an x-ray of the patient's chest performed, a radiology study that will definitively demonstrate whether the NG tube terminates in the correct position. A failure to order this study and/or a failure properly communicate the results to the health care provider is a clear indication of medical mistake and grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
At STSW, our lawyers routinely handle similar cases of medical mistake / negligence in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas and surrounding communities. Over the years, our lawyers have been involved in similar types of cases involving the following hospitals: Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, St. Agnes Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Harbor Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, Anne Arundel County Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Washington Medical Center, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Frederick Memorial Hospital and Shady Grove Hospital. If you or a loved one has been victimized by a similar failure to order a routine study prior to resuming an NG tube feeding or a similar failure to order a routine study to determine whether a tube, catheter or other indwelling device is in the proper anatomical location, call our experienced legal team for a free consultation at (410) 385-2225 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. In Maryland, generally the statute of limitations requires that claims for medical negligence be brought within three years of the date of the alleged negligence, although there are a few limited exceptions which could extend this time period up to five years in certain cases.