Loss of Life From a Misplaced PEG Tube

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a method of placing a tube into the stomach percutaneously, aided by endoscopy. PEG tube placement is one of the most common endoscopic procedures performed today, and an estimated 100,000-125,000 are performed annually in the United States. Patients who are unable to move food from their mouth to their stomach are the ones who commonly need PEG tube placement. This includes those with neurological disorders such as strokecerebral palsy, brain injury, and impaired swallowing.

In this case, an elderly individual with difficulty swallowing had a PEG tube placed in a hospital setting.  He was then transferred to a nursing home.  At the nursing home, the PEG tube became dislodged.  A licensed practical nurse (LPN) attempted to put the PEG tube back in the proper place.

Unfortunately, she did not take the proper precautionary measure to ensure the PEG tube was in the stomach and it ended up in the patient’s peritoneal cavity.  This led to the patient’s feeds entering this cavity and causing a significant infection that led to sepsis.  After a laparotomy, wherein a surgeon attempts to clean out the infection, the patient was simply transferred to hospice and allowed to pass away.

After extensive litigation, the nursing home entered into a confidential settlement.