Patient's Feeding Tube Improperly Replaced; Richmond Area Nursing Home Settles
A nursing home patient died days after his PEG feeding tube became dislodged at the facility and was replaced by a nurse who didn't first confirm proper placement. Instead of being placed back into the stomach, the PEG tube was inserted into the patient's peritoneal cavity.
The facility's nurse was negligent because the tract for the feeding tube was of questionable maturity when the nurse attempted "blindly" to reinsert the feeding tube. Endoscopic or radiographic (x-ray) guided replacement of the tube, which was not done, was required in the absence of a mature tract. The nurse also failed to confirm proper placement of the tube either radiographically using a water-soluble contrast or by aspirating gastric contents with a syringe and testing the aspirate for pH to confirm proper intragastric position before starting to tube feed.
When tube feeding resumed, feeding formula was pumped into the periotneal cavity and resulted in peritonitis (infection of the lining of the abdominal wall), sepsis (systemic bacterial infection of the body), and an eight-day hospitalization during which the patient died. According to the patient's long-time primary care physician, his life expectancy at the time of the neglect was six months due to pre-existing and unrelated medical conditions.
The case was settled well before trial. The settlement terms are confidential at the nursing home's request.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Thu, January 31, 2008
by Robert Carter