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Improperly placed feeding tube results in sepsis and death

 A feeding tube is designed to provide supplemental nutrition to a patient who is incapable of eating food orally.

There are clear safety rules about how a feeding tube gets inserted and where it is to be inserted into the patient's body. Once inserted, before administering any nutritional feedings, the doctors will usually obtain an x-ray image to determine where the tube is located within the body. They do this as a safety precaution to make sure it is in the correct location.

If it is not in the correct location, they will then have to readjust it to make sure that when the feeding material is inserted, it goes to the correct place.

In a case I handled not long ago involving a woman who was physically incapable of eating, she was given a feeding tube. The problem was that the tube had originally dislodged. When the doctors reinserted it, they failed to recognize that the tube was not in the correct location. As a result of that they began to feed her. The feeding contents were not going into the correct location and instead were going into her abdomen where clearly it should not have been.

As a result of that this woman became deathly ill with a condition known as sepsis. That is a systemwide infection that if not diagnosed and treated promptly can result in death. That's exactly what happened to this unfortunate woman.