When prisoners undertook a hunger strike in Guantanamo, there was a great public outcry about the forced placement of nasal feeding tubes. These public protests sometimes gave the impression that nasal feeding tubes were torture. However, another kind of feeding tube is being forced on Americans, one that needs a surgical procedure to be inserted.
Elderly patients recovering from a stroke or other severe illness may have difficulty swallowing during their recovery. Usually, the recovery of swallowing is possible and a fairly quick process, but in the time that this is difficult, a nasal feeding tube is sometimes inserted. The process utilizes a tube that is not much larger than a piece of well-cooked spaghetti and is only minimally uncomfortable. The tube is inserted through the nose, using lubricant, and into the stomach.
Most patients find the tubes comfortable and research has indicated that nasal feeding tubes can remain in use for years.
Yet, based on data recently published, nursing homes around the country are refusing to admit patients unless they have a feeding tube surgically inserted through the abdomen. These feeding tubes, called a PEG, are often for patients who will require long term feeding. They are placed by a gastroenterologist, often under local anesthesia and sedation. However, research gives no indication that these tubes are safer, more comfortable, or more secure than nasal feeding tubes.
Yet, research indicates that in New York, 80 percent of nursing homes refused nasal tubes and required the insertion of the surgical tube. Nationwide, only 35%, taken from a large random sample, required the PEG tube.
These requirements are changing the ways that hospitals treat patients they know will eventually discharged to a nursing home. Critically ill patients in intensive care are being forced to undergo the procedure. Some reports show that 10% of these patients do not survive to be discharged. In another study from Johns Hopkins and Penn State Universities, most patients had the feeding tubes removed before even being discharged from the hospital.
If you have been the victim of abuse or neglect as a patient in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of Schenk Smith today. Our attorneys may be able to help you get compensation you deserve. Contact us today.