Serious complications can arise when nursing home workers do not effectively clear clogged feeding tubes inserted into the stomach or small intestine of their patients. For many elderly individuals, feeding tubes offer significant benefits as a way to provide sustenance when traditional ways (chewing and swallowing) are not possible.
However, carelessness, negligence and improper use could lead to serious feeding tube complications. It is essential that the nursing home staff follow proper hygiene procedures to control the potential of infection or injury when assisting residents who need assisted feeding.
The Benefit of Feeding Tubes
A feeding tube is a beneficial medical device positioned through the nose down to the inside of the patient’s stomach. It provides the opportunity to consume enough sustenance for survival. For some patients suffering a chronic disability, a feeding tube placement is a permanent solution, whereas treatment for acute conditions usually only require a temporary placement. Permanent assisted feeding solutions might involve NG-tubes (placed in the stomach) or NJ tubes (placed in the small intestine).
Feeding Tube Issues
Individuals that receive nutrition through an inserted feeding tube typically have a greater potential of developing infections and malnutrition. Serious complications can arise if the nursing staff is not closely monitoring every resident tube feeding occurring in the nursing home. Consistent issues including constipation, nausea and vomiting can lead to life-threatening complicated problems.
Studies have indicated that the nutrition obtained through assisted feeding tubes is often inadequate to sustain muscle mass and improve muscle function, causing further debilitation of the patient. In addition, a clogged feeding tube can easily become completely restricted, blocking the intake of liquid and foods, causing serious complications.
Like hospitals and other medical facilities, nursing homes must develop, implement and maintain strict protocols to manage MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). While the bacteria are often harmless when thriving on the skin’s surface, they have the potential of causing death if they enter the body. This can be a significant problem to elderly patients already experiencing compromised immune systems.
Research indicates that feeding tubes provide a convenient entry location for harmful bacteria and can cause a fatal infection. Because of that, it is essential that staff members take special care to follow sanitary procedures. Common problems associated with feeding tubes include:
- Clogged feeding tubes
- Inability to ingest food through the feeding tube
- Excessive drainage around the feeding tube
- Tubes unexpectedly coming out
- Skin irritation
- Increased potential of bedsores from lying on diarrhea in the bed
- Associated pain at the location of the inserted feeding tube
In some incidences, nursing home workers provide negligent inadequate care when inserting and managing feeding tubes in their in-home patients. Illinois nursing homes have been cited for a variety of feeding tube related incidences including:
- Failing to feed residents according to schedule
- Failure to properly document the amount of fluid intake
- Feeding residents with expired feeding tube formulas
- Failure to properly clean all feeding tube components and equipment
Nursing home neglect is often the result of improperly trained caregivers who cannot recognize the obvious symptoms and signs of a misplaced or dislodged feeding tube. Often times, the caregiver will continue providing food through the tube even when it is not secured in the stomach or intestines. When this happens, the patient can suffer serious injury or death. Nursing standards mandate that the caretaker check the tube placement prior to each feeding, a protocol often overlooked by many professional caregivers.
Taking Legal Action For A Feeding Tube Complication Case
Often times, children and grandchildren recognize the obvious signs of malnutrition, neglect and abuse happening to a loved one residing in a nursing home or other medical facility. When this occurs, it is recommended to take appropriate legal action to stop the negligence immediately. Reputable attorneys can fight for your loved one’s rights.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have a comprehensive understanding of the laws that govern feeding tube protocols and the rules regulating elder care facilities. Our professional legal staff and seasoned attorneys have litigated many Illinois cases involving unnecessary use of feeding tubes and inadequate feeding tube placement/follow-up care, which led to serious injuries, illnesses and death.
If you have a loved one suffering serious injury or has died by a complication with the feeding tube in a long-term care facility, nursing home or hospital, contact our law firm at (800) 926-7565. We offer our substantial experience in dealing with neglect and abuse cases in nursing facilities and have a comprehensive understanding of Illinois medical claims involving feeding tube cases. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your claim to stop the abuse and seek financial compensation for your injury, loss, suffering and pain.