Articles Posted in Feeding Tube Misplacement

A Northern California nursing home is claiming that the local hospital, Mercy Medical Center, killed one of its residents. According to news accounts, 74-year-old Robert Nelson, a developmentally disabled adult residing in skilled nursing facility Shasta House, was taken to Mercy in December for “digestive problems.” Nelson used a feeding tube for nourishment, and could not take any food by mouth. The nursing home said that the hospital was informed of this.

Visitors to Nelson at the hospital, however, said they caught hospital staff trying to feed Nelson by mouth on several occasions, including attempts to administer pills by mouth. The attempts continued, allegedly, even after warnings were given to hospital staff.

Not long after his admission for the digestive problems, Nelson came down with aspiration pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs and airways, usually caused by the breathing of foreign material such as food. People with swallowing difficulties are at risk of acquiring aspiration pneumonia, but Nelson should not have been as his condition required no food by mouth.

A Los Angeles area nursing home received the state’s most severe penalty (short of losing its license) yesterday when it received a $100,000 fine for neglectful care that resulted in the death of a resident. The nursing facility also received an AA citation.

The case involved the misplacement of a feeding tube, which is a type of case the Walton Law Firm has handled on several prior occasions. According to reports, the 84-year-old resident was admitted to the nursing home in early 2008 to rehabilitate a hip fracture. He was noted as having no problems chewing or swallowing. Because of a weight loss, his physician ordered nasogastric tube feedings.

When staff at the nursing home inserted the tube through the man’s nose, it placed it in the man’s lung, not his stomach. When feedings began, the lungs filled with feeding material, and the man became sickened immediately. Three days later he was dead from aspiration pneumonia.

Los Angeles – The death of an 88-year-old nursing home resident has resulted in an AA citation and a $100,000 fine, the most severe penalty that can be imposed by California regulators. The California Department of Public Health issued the penalty after it concluded that nursing home resident’s death was the result of neglect.

According to reports, the resident had received a gastrostomy tube (or g-tube) for feedings on August 29, 2008 and was admitted to Arbor View nursing home on September 3, 2008. The feeding tube became dislodged approximately one week later, and a nurse attempted to reinsert it. Unfortunately, the nurse missed the stomach, and instead inserted the tube into the abdominal cavity. Feedings were then continued.

The next day, the resident was rushed to the hospital with nausea and vomiting, and a scan revealed the problem. She had massive amounts of feeding material in her abdominal cavity that doctors tried to remove. The elderly resident contracted an infection and died shortly there after.

Providing nutritional support through feeding tubes to patients who are unable to eat enough orally to sustain themselves is an important component of supportive nursing care. Feeding tubes that enter the stomach through the abdominal wall, or percutaneous gastrostomy tubes (PEG tubes), can cause serious injury or death if misplaced or become dislodged. Nursing standards require that caregivers check the proper placement before using the tube for any purpose, whether it is for nutritional support, medication administration, or hydration. Failure to do so can expose the nurse and the nursing facility to legal liability.

Walton Law Firm currently represents two nursing home residents who were provided tube feedings after the tube was misplaced or became dislodged, causing tube feeding material to spill into the peritoneal space. Both patients became immediately septic, and one, a 73-year-old man, died.