A hospital has apologised to the family of an 84-year-old grandmother who died after a feeding tube was wrongly placed into her lungs.
Homerton University Hospital, in Hackney, offered their condolences to the family of Andriana Georgiou, of Tottenham, following an inquest into her death on Wednesday, January 8.
The coroner Mary Elizabeth Hassell returned a narrative conclusion, which said the misplaced tube had contributed to the 84-year-old’s death in combination with natural diseases.
A spokesman for the hospital said: “Our medical director has apologised to the family and provided them with as much information as possible including the hospital’s comprehensive investigation report into the circumstances surrounding Mrs Georgiou’s death.
“Since this incident in December 2012, we have fully reviewed our procedures relating to feeding patients who are frail and ensured that all hospital staff are aware of Trust policies in this area.”
Mrs Georgiou was admitted to the hospital after a stroke but as she could not feed herself, a naso-gastric feeding tube was used to give her nutrition.
The feeding tube was inserted into one of Mrs Georgiou’s lungs instead of into her stomach, causing her to develop pneumonia and she died 11 days later, on December 15.
The hospital used a procedure known as the “whoosh test” – in which air is syringed into the tube and a stethoscope used to listen to air flow to determine whether the tube is correctly positioned.
Homerton Hospital’s policy expressly banned the use of that test, and the National Patient Safety Agency issued a Patient Safety Alert in 2005 that the procedure should not be used.
Judge Hassell said she could not give a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ as the error was caused by the individual actions of Dr Kari Saastamoinen, who claimed he did not know that the whoosh test was banned.
Dr Saastamoinen was cleared of gross negligence dispite his mistake.
The hospital’s spokesman added: “We also take on board the comments of the coroner and will be reviewing our staff induction processes to ensure that senior clinical staff working across multiple sites are made fully aware of trust policies.”