Often times, the insertion of a feeding tube is extremely beneficial anytime an elderly patient does not have the capacity to consume sustenance through traditional methods. Unfortunately, carelessness or improper use often leads to a serious feeding tube complication. In addition, without proper hygiene protocols and infection control, patients that require assisted feeding can suffer serious consequences, leading to problematic medical conditions and even death.
The Chicago nursing home abuse / neglect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have experience with a broad array of nursing home negligence cases in Illinois-- including situations where a patient has suffered an injury related to complications with a feeding tube. Contact our office for a complimentary assessment of a situation involving a feeding tube complication at a nursing home.
What is a Feeding Tube?
In the medical world, a feeding tube is a device that transports nutrition to the patient’s stomach when they do not have the ability or capacity to consume food on their own. In some incidences, a feeding tube placement is a temporary or permanent solution as an effective way to treat an acute condition.
While there are different methods, there are two common types of tube feeding procedures. One involves a NG tube that allows nutrition to be transferred through the nose into the stomach. The other involves a NJ tube were nutrition is transferred into the small intestine.
Sometimes, when patients require long-term feeding, an incision is made into the abdomen, with a tube placed directly into the small intestine or stomach. Often times, feeding tubes are a medical necessity as a way to prevent malnutrition (see here) and/or dehydration (look here). Even so, it is essential to continuously monitor every resident with a feeding tube. This is because a feeding tube complication can quickly develop, causing dehydration, pneumonia, infection, diarrhea, vomiting or other serious side effect.
Feeding Tube Problems Related to Improper Placement
Improper tube placement is just one factor that can cause a dysfunctional feeding tube. Once placed, the tube needs to be properly and carefully managed to minimize the potential of numerous medical conditions. Tube failure can result in serious injuries or illnesses that include wound infection, insertion site leakage, or esophageal perforation.
In addition, even when the feeding tube is placed in the correct position, there is still a potential of dysfunction to some degree. Many times, feeding tube dysfunctions will result in:
- Unexpected repositioning of the tube
- Inadvertent removal of the tube
- Tube clogging
Anyone of these complications can cause serious consequences without proper cleaning and care throughout the entire use while inserted.
Nutrient Malabsorption in Patients With Feeding Tubes
When the patient in a nursing home fitted with a feeding tube is not properly managed, there can be serious nutrient malabsorption-- resulting in malnutrition. The nursing home staff must routinely assess the patient’s condition, and their ability to absorb nutrients properly.
When the patient is suffering from malnutrition, it is essential that the staff adjust the amount of nutrients received, or make changes in the tube placement. Often times, neglect and abuse in the nursing home by improperly trained staff can create serious health complications including diarrhea that is induced by the feeding tube.
Training Staff to Avoiding Serious Feeding Tube Problems
Friends and family members of patients in a nursing home being fed with the feeding tube need to understand how the process works. If their loved one looks malnourished, it is essential to ask the right questions and ensure that the staff is assisting the patient in preventing the potential of any feeding tube issue. The staff attending the patient needs to ensure he or she is positioned at the appropriate angle during feeding. This will avoid the increased potential of aspiration, where vomiting pushes the nutritional food back through the tube.
In addition, it is essential that the staff monitor the patient and look for any signs of dysfunction that includes infection or leaking. To provide the utmost care, there should be constant monitoring to ensure there is no misplacement or dislodging of the tube and that it is securely placed in the intestines or the stomach. This must be done prior to every feeding, a step that is typically overlooked by professional nursing home staff.
Feeding Tube Claims and Awards
$3.8 Million Chicago Settlement; Feeding Tube Accident Case
This lawsuit was filed in Illinois court by a family after their loved one passed away at a local hospital. The middle-aged man was survived by a wife and kids. He was admitted to the facility after injuring himself in a fall. He sustained broken ribs, a brain injury, and other wounds. However, none of these were life-threatening. Also, none of them severely reduced his life expectancy. That changed though when personnel at the hospital accidentally placed his feeding tube into his lung. Even though they did various procedures after this error including an X-ray exam, they did not catch their mistake. The man subsequently suffered massive oxygen deprivation. He died not long after this. His family sued the facility for negligence and wrongful death. They sought compensation for their damages including pain, grief, medical bills, lost support, and lost future earnings among others. The defendant was obviously in the wrong on this case. It did not want to waste further time and money on the dispute. It chose to settle. The family received $3.8 million.
$400,000 Chicago Settlement; Feeding Tube Accident Case
The family of an elderly man who passed away in an Illinois nursing home brought this action. He was in his early eighties at the time of his death. He died after choking on his food. Prior to the incident, he suffered diabetes and other issues. He required a feeding tube and a special diet. Staff deviated from that prescribed course and gave him hard food through the mouth. He could not handle this consumption and died as a result of it. His children sued in state court for the pain and loss of his death. They sought compensation from the facility directly as well as various medical professionals who rendered him care. The family cited the deviation from the feeding tube as the cause of his death. They claimed that a reasonable caretaker would not have done that. Neither affirming or denying the underlying allegations of the complaint, the defendants did choose to settle with the plaintiffs for a reported $400,000.
$1,500,000 Chicago Settlement; Feeding Tube Accident Case
This unfortunate controversy involved a choking accident in an Illinois hospital. The victim was eighty. He passed away from the injuries he sustained in this event. Originally, he was admitted to the hospital because he had pneumonia as well as other serious health issues. Staff were supposed to properly place a feeding tube so that he could maintain a healthy diet. Instead, they placed the tube down his lung. They tried to check for this problem during a routine x-ray examination. The problem was that doctors looked at the wrong tests results. Therefore, they never obtained the verification that the tube was placed correctly. Subsequently, the man experienced oxygen deprivation and passed away. This lawsuit was brought as a result of these glaring errors. It targeted the hospital and the doctors. The complaint sought compensation for their combined negligence and the man’s wrongful death. In a private settlement, the plaintiffs recovered $1.5 million in compensation.
$2 Million Illinois Verdict; Feeding Tube Accident Case
This case was filed after a young man died in a nursing home. He was middle-aged at the time of his death. He was sent there because he sustained injuries in an auto crash. Among other things, that required him to be fed through a feeding tube. At some point during his stay there, he inadvertently dislodged the tube. A staff member of the nursing home reinserted it. However, she did not check to make sure that the tube was placed in his stomach rather than his lungs. Unfortunately, that is what happened. When they restarted his feedings through that tube the next day, he began to experience difficulty breathing. That progressed until he lost consciousness and died. There was some controversy over why the attending doctor did not transfer him to a local hospital sooner. That issue required a jury, so the matter went to trial. At the end of the day, the man’s family obtained a $2 million award for the tragedy and costs of his untimely passing.Seeking Compensation When an Illinois Nursing Home Fails To Provide Quality Care for a Patient With a Feeding Tube
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have assisted victims of a feeding tube complication whenever there is a failure by the nursing home staff. The skilled attorneys can build the case on the failure of the nursing home in their inability to monitor the victim properly while being provided nutrition through a feeding tube. As skilled Chicago nursing home attorneys, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can assess the merits of the case, and provide representation on the best ways to proceed legally. Call the firm at (888) 424-5757.