$475,000 Wrongful Death Settlement for Negligently Inserted Gastrostomy Tube


C. v. Patel

A 62-year-old male died from asphyxiation after a doctor negligently inserted a gastrostomy tube into his duodenum, rather than into his stomach. He had received his first g-tube in 2006 and had been fed by his wife for approximately 1,400 days until May 19, 2010. On that day, the doctor was running late but arrived at our client’s home to see his final patient of the day. The doctor extracted the previous g-tube and inserted a new one that went past the man’s stomach and pyloric sphincter into his duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The inflated balloon at the end of the tube trapped the device there. While in that location, the inflated balloon tore the thin mucosa of the duodenum, which led to uncontrolled bleeding. Because of the balloon’s obstruction, blood flowed backwards into the patient’s stomach, causing him to vomit blood and asphyxiate in a chair while his wife was in bed. The doctor never confirmed through radiological findings that the tube was in the patient’s stomach. Instead, he relied on the color of the material aspirated through the tube to conclude that it was in the proper location.