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Who is Liable For a Misplaced Feeding Tube?


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Hospital patients who are very sick or weak may lose the ability to eat on their own. If this is the case, doctors or nurses may have to insert a feeding tube to deliver a liquid diet with the nutrients the patient needs to live. These feeding tubes can go through a patient's nose, mouth, or through the skin in the abdomen directly into the stomach. Feeding tubes can be life-saving, however there is risk for misplacement. Even though doctors and nurses go through extensive training in tube insertion, and should initially and continually check for proper placement of feeding tubes, misplacement still wrongfully happens and goes undetected.

What Complications can Result from a Misplaced Feeding Tube?

  • Liquid food delivered straight into the bloodstream instead of the digestive system
  • Liquid food delivered to the lungs instead of the stomach
  • Stomach leaks
  • Gastric hemorrhaging
  • Tubal migration

I have personally represented clients who have been the victims of negligence and improperly placed feeding tubes at long care rehab facilities. My client was a completely helpless victim and the accident happened for no other reason than the rehab facility simply wasn’t paying attention to what it was doing.

This type of careless conduct is unnecessary but often results in serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or complications caused by a misplaced feeding tube, an Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney can help you hold the responsible doctor or nurse liable for your injuries.

What Safety Precautions Should Be Used to Test Feeding Tubes?

Traditionally, one of three methods were used to ensure proper feeding tube placement: auscultation, bubbling, or aspirate appearance. However, over recent years, studies have indicated that these methods are not reliable in verifying proper tube placement. There are many new and reliable ways for hospital staff to check for proper feeding tube placement, such as radiographs of the chest, endoscopy, fluoroscopy, and pH testing combined with another method. Nevertheless, according to the Patient Safety Authority, old habits die hard among doctors and nurses, who often continue to employ the old methods in spite of the availability of the newer, more reliable methods.

Doctors and nurses also often interpret the lack of choking or coughing to mean that a feeding tube is properly placed. However, patients who have severe dementia or diminished mental capacity may no longer have gag reflexes or the ability to cough or swallow. These patients are considered to be at the highest risk for misplacement and should not receive feeding tubes, but often do. Also at a high risk for misplacement are patients who are uncooperative, critically ill, or who have had facial trauma or surgery.

There is no reason why feeding tube misplacement should go undetected. Medical providers should use one of the reliable methods of checking for proper placement at the time of insertion, and should regularly check to make sure the tube is in place and has not moved or migrated throughout the duration of feeding tube use. Doctors and nurses should no longer employ the old methods of verification, and should never assume that a feeding tube is properly placed simply because the patient is not coughing or choking. Unfortunately, hospital staff do not always follow take proper precautions, and misplaced feeding tubes cause complications, injuries, and even death.

What Can You Do if a Loved One Suffered from a Misplaced Feeding Tube?

In the event of such injury or death, an experienced Hammond medical malpractice attorney can help you or your family hold the medical professionals liable for their mistakes, and help you receive a fair settlement for what you are owed.

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Your Legal Team

Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

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In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

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More than 40 Years of Experience.
Still Fighting for Justice.

For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.

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