A feeding tube is a medical device used to provide nutrition to patients who cannot obtain adequate nutrition by swallowing. Placement of a feeding tube may be temporary for the treatment of acute conditions or lifelong in the case of chronic disabilities.
Feeding tubes can only be used as a last resort because they lead to a loss of functioning, and can cause serious medical and psychological problems. If a resident is able to swallow and can get adequate nutrition by eating, no matter how long it takes, then no tube should be used. Lack of staff available to assist a resident with regular eating is not an acceptable excuse to install a feeding tube.
With the resident’s consent, a feeding tube can be used if there is a demonstrated medical need to prevent malnutrition or dehydration. Residents fed by tube must receive the appropriate medical treatment and services to prevent aspiration pneumonia, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and other adverse symptoms.
If a feeding tube is being used, the nursing home or care facility must do what it can to help the resident take food by mouth again as soon as possible in order to avoid the long-term use of a feeding tube, which often leads to serious complications.
At Berman & Riedel, LLP, our attorneys have a complete understanding not only of the laws governing feeding tube error cases, but of all laws and regulations involved in litigating elder care facility cases. Our team of attorneys and professional legal staff have litigated many cases where the use of feeding tubes was unnecessary or the placement and/or follow-up care of a feeding tube was inadequate, leading to serious illness or death.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a feeding tube error, the experienced attorneys and legal staff at Berman & Riedel, LLP can provide you with sound advice on what your rights may be under the law. Contact an attorney at Berman & Riedel, LLP to discuss your options.