Feeding Tube Injuries in Nursing Homes – Can You Sue?

Posted by PKSD New Mexico Law Firm on June 26, 2024 in Nursing Home Abuse

image of a nurse holding a feeding tubeFeeding tubes can be helpful in nursing homes. Aging residents sometimes are unable to digest solid food. Others may have a medical condition that makes eating normally impossible. While feeding tubes can be useful, they are not without risk. If an error occurs and it causes your loved one physical harm, can you sue the nursing home?

At PKSD in New Mexico, we have a deep commitment to protecting elderly residents in nursing homes. We have been advocating on their behalf for decades, recovering millions in compensation on their behalf.

Was your loved one injured by a clogged feeding tube or other feeding tube error? If so, you may be eligible to seek compensation for the damages. Contact our law offices to speak with one of our highly qualified Santa Fe nursing home attorneys. Your initial consultation is completely free.

Request your FREE case review today. 505-677-7777

How Are Feeding Tubes Used in Nursing Homes?

Feeding tubes are often used in nursing homes for residents who have difficulties swallowing or eating food. Without these medical devices, some residents would be unable to get the nutrients and fluids they need.

Despite their usefulness, feeding tube devices can result in serious or fatal injuries if used improperly.

Are All Feeding Tubes the Same?

No. There are several types of feeding tubes that are used to resolve different feeding issues. The three most common types, however, include:

  • Nasogastric tube (NG): A nasogastric tube is flexible. A healthcare professional inserts it through the nose and into the stomach of the patient. Sometimes, this tube can also be used to remove the contents of a patient’s stomach. The placement of the NG tube is critical to avoid causing the resident harm. Once inserted, placement should be verified to make sure it is positioned properly. An NG tube, however, is generally only used as a short-term solution. Long-term use can cause GI bleeding, gastric irritation and other medical issues.
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube: Residents with certain medical conditions are more likely to have a PEG tube inserted. A PEG tube, unlike an NG tube, can be inserted for a longer period of time. It gets inserted directly into the stomach via an endoscopy. Residents with a PEG feeding tube often have dementia, brain injuries, prior stroke, problems with their esophagus and other medical issues.

What Risks May Result From Using a Feeding Tube?

If a long-term care facility recommends inserting a feeding tube for your loved one, they should first explain why. They should also talk about the risks involved, including these common issues:

  • Feeding tubes may become dislodged, clogged or damaged.
  • With long-term use, feeding tubes may erode the lining of the stomach, esophagus and nasal airway.
  • Feeding tubes may lead to throat or sinus infections, ulcers and other stomach or gastrointestinal issues.
  • Elderly residents may try to pull out a feeding tube, especially if they are in pain.
  • GI bleeding
  • Increased risk of bedsores due to residents having to remain immobile and in bed

When Could Nursing Homes Be Liable for Feeding Tube Injuries?

Sometimes the use of a feeding tube causes more harm than good. Depending on the circumstances, the facility or its caregivers may be held liable.

Feeding tube errors that could cause harm to a nursing home resident includes:

Clogged Feeding Tubes

Nursing home staff should take certain steps when using a feeding tube. For example, the tube should be flushed both before and after feeding the resident. This helps to prevent the tubes from becoming clogged. If a resident’s feeding tube becomes clogged, emergency surgery is usually required.

Medication Errors

Sometimes feeding tubes are also used to deliver certain oral medications. However, this can skew the absorption rate of a drug. Trying to mix crushed tablets could also cause problems. In some cases, trying to administer medication through a feeding tube can be lethal.

Improperly Placed Feeding Tube

If a feeding tube is not properly placed, it could cause fatal harm. One prime example is if the healthcare professional inserts the tube into the resident’s bronchial tree. This mistake could cause the resident to contract sepsis, a serious infection that is often fatal for the elderly.

Dislodged Feeding Tube

Feeding tubes can become dislodged in many different ways, such as when staff move or shift the bedridden resident. Sometimes staff who are not qualified to place a tube may think they can just slip it back into place. Residents could suffer various injuries, malnutrition or death.

Need Legal Help for a Nursing Home Feeding Tube Injury?

There are different perspectives on how or when feeding tubes should be used in nursing homes. Often the risks outweigh the potential good. Unfortunately, nursing home staff may not always be properly trained in the proper use of feeding tubes.

If your loved one was injured by the improper use of a feeding tube, you may have a case against his or her nursing home for damages.

Contact our New Mexico nursing home firm to discuss your situation. Our legal team has extensive experience helping injured nursing home residents, and we have a strong history of results.

Your initial consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation to file a case. If you have a case and decide to hire our legal services, there is nothing for you to pay up front or throughout the legal process. We only get paid if we get you compensation through a negotiated settlement or jury-awarded verdict.

PKSD NM. Millions Recovered. Proven Results. 505-677-7777

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