A doctor in Providence was inserting a gastronomy tube into an elderly patient. After inserting the G-tube, the patient cried out in pain. The doctor ordered an x-ray to check the placement of the tube but read the wrong image, thinking the tube was in the right place. Over the next day, multiple tube feedings were put into the tube, going right into the patient’s tissue.
When the patient returned to the ER, the emergency room doctor noticed the incorrect G-tube placement. The team tried to clean out the debris in the patient’s abdomen and repair the perforation. However, within a couple of weeks, the patient died after developing a severe infection. The doctor was later found guilty of unprofessional conduct after the medical malpractice settlement.
A gastronomy tube (G-tube) is a tube inserted into the patient’s stomach to deliver food and medicines. A G-tube is generally used where a patient may have difficulty chewing or swallowing. In some elderly patients, problems with chewing and swallowing can lead to choking or pneumonia.
A hollow catheter is inserted into the stomach and a balloon or flared tip keeps the tube in place. The stomach is then stitched closed around the tube. Placement of the G-tube is very important. Improper placement of the G-tube can lead to bleeding or infection.
When the medical staff need to feed the patient or give the patient medication to be absorbed in the stomach, the food and medicine are inserted into the stomach through the G-tube. Feeding can be done using gravity or syringes. The site around the G-tube insertion has to be kept clean and dry.
Failure to Train Doctors on Technology
In the case above, one of the problems was that the doctor was not familiar with the hospital’s new imaging system. The doctor appropriately ordered an x-ray and reviewed an image. However, the doctor pulled up an old x-ray image instead of the new one. The old x-ray showed a properly placed G-tube. The new one would have shown the G-tube was projected over the patient’s upper abdomen.
As a healthcare professional, the doctor should have been trained on the new imaging equipment. If the doctor was not trained, the doctor should not have gone ahead without knowing how to work with the new system. The doctor could have asked for assistance from another doctor with the proper training on the imaging system. This medical mistake may have cost the patient their life.
Compensation After Medical Error
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members may be able to get compensation after a family member has died because of medical malpractice. Damages in a wrongful death claim can include loss of support, medical expenses, and funeral costs. Talk to your attorney about compensation after the death of a loved one.
The trial attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian are committed to helping injury victims and their families get compensation after an accident. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.