Maryland Feeding Tube Malpractice Lawyer

Everyone requires full and proper nutrition to sustain life and good health. However, some individuals, whether due to serious illness, accidental injury or other physical conditions are unable to eat or drink in a conventional manner. Under such circumstances it is common for healthcare providers to provide such patients with a feeding tube in order to facilitate sufficient nutritional intake. While feeding tubes can provide an essential temporary or longer-term solution for those unable to eat, negligent insertion, monitoring, or maintenance of this equipment can cause serious harm and even death. When this occurs, a feeding tube malpractice lawsuit, with the assistance of a Maryland feeding tube malpractice lawyer, may be the best way for victims and their families to seek accountability and justice. To learn more about what steps you can take, call and schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland today.

Feeding Tube Basics

Given the critical nature of proper nutrition for everyone, but especially for those battling chronic illnesses, feeding tubes can prove invaluable in numerous healthcare scenarios. The type of tube placed in a particular patient will depend on a number of factors, but commonly used types of equipment include:

  • Naso-gastric tubes placed in the nose which run to the stomach
  • Percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy tubing
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubing
  • Intravenous tubes designed to administer highly caloric nutrition

Though placement of feeding tubes is typically a fairly simple surgical procedure, as suggested by the Mayo Clinic, it is only recommended for patients who have no other option when it comes to receiving nutrients. Feeding in this manner can be relatively short-term in nature, or it may continue for years in some cases. Either way many patients can benefit greatly from the use of this type of equipment, but, as acknowledged by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, there are distinct risks of complication about which physicians and other healthcare professionals must remain vigilant.

Dangers of Feeding Tube Malpractice After Placement

According to a recent study published by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the dangers presented by the use of feeding tubes can be significant, and they can begin to appear soon after placement. Once a tube is surgically placed, it is important for healthcare providers to carefully monitor the recipient for complications which could include bleeding or the development of infection. The incision site must also be kept meticulously clean and dressings changed frequently during the healing process. Failure to take such measures can lead to serious consequences including sepsis, thereby warranting contact with a feeding tube malpractice lawyer in Maryland.

Improper insertion of a feeding tube into a patient can also cause severe injury including accidental insertion of the equipment into the lungs rather than the stomach which can be catastrophic. Therefore, it is crucial for healthcare providers to verify proper placement via x-ray, by listening for unusual gastric sounds, by injecting bursts of air into the tube’s end and by testing any observed tube secretions to ensure that they are acidic and indicative of stomach function, not lung function. Imprecise placement of a feeding tube can also cause nutritional solutions to be deposited into the abdominal cavity, a potentially fatal complication.

Preventing Infection

The prospect of harm stemming from Maryland feeding tube malpractice continues well after initial placement, and prevention requires extreme care and diligence on the part of attending medical staff. The prevailing standard of care for those treating feeding tube patients includes stringent observation of sterility protocols in order to prevent the growth of potentially deadly bacteria within the tubing or in the nutritional solution itself.

Finally, it is of the utmost importance for healthcare professionals to carefully monitor patients for the possibility that their nutritional solution has backed up into the stomach. This is extremely dangerous because it can cause vomiting and aspiration, a sequence which can be deadly.

Consulting With An Attorney

Whether suffering from old age, chronic illness or a debilitating injury, patients who receive feeding tubes are often among the most vulnerable among us. They have little choice but to place a great amount of faith in their healthcare providers’ ability and willingness to meet the accepted standard of care when it comes to the placement and maintenance of such equipment. When physicians, nurses or other responsible care staff commit acts or omissions in contravention of the prevailing standard of care, tragic outcomes can and do occur. If you or your loved one have been impacted in any way by feeding tube malpractice, schedule a consultation with a Maryland feeding tube malpractice attorney today to discuss what steps you can take.