I think most people would be amazed if they became aware of how many injuries and deaths were cased by an employee’s failure to follow basic orders. This time, a hospital employee’s failure to follow basic instructions related to a patient’s dietary needs has cost another patient their life.
Ignoring doctors orders, an employee at Mayers Memorial Hospital gave a meat and cheese sandwhich to an Alzheimer’s patient who was unable to eat solid food. Left unattended with the sandwhich, the patient literally ‘inhaled’ the sandwhich. Five days later, the patient died from pneumonia caused by inhaling food.
According to California Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Mark Horton, “The facility failed to protect the heath of a patient when the prescribed diet ordered by the phyisician and in the patient’s care plan was not followed. As a result, the patient died.”
The California Department of Public Health issued a AA citation and a $50,000 fine to the hospital following its investigation.
Read more about this choking incident here.
Pneumonia from inhaling food?
Yes. Many nursing home and hospital patients develop ‘aspiration pneumonia’ when food or foreign materials enter the bronchial tree (lungs). Aspiration pneumonia may result after oral or gastric contents (including food, saliva, or nasal secretions) are inhaled. Depending on the acidity of the materials inhaled, a chemical pneumonitis can develop, and bacteria may add to the inflammation.