On April 3, 2006, the JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) issued another notification in a series of Sentinel Event Alerts. This alert warns health care organizations, including hospitals and nursing homes, about the potential for serious adverse consequences to a patient arising from medical errors involving tubes and catheters. Mix-ups and confusion by health care providers can occur and involve peripheral intravenous catheters, central intravenous catheters, nasogastric feeding tubes, automatic blood pressure cuff insufflation tubes, percutaneous enteric feeding tubes, peritoneal dialysis catheters and/or tracheostomy cuff inflation tubes. The primary difficulty arises when tubing that is essentially incompatible is nonetheless used, which of course leads to increased potential for harmful error. Unfortunately, sometimes medical practitioners use luer fittings, which allow for the use of otherwise incompatible tubing; these adaptors are primary culprits. The JCAHO makes several recommendations for avoiding tubing misconnection errors. These recommendations are useful for establishing the applicable standard of care.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious adverse consequence because inexperienced or improperly trained hospital or nursing home staff have made a medical error involving tube connections, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers at our offices in Stamford, Connecticut to determine if a claim for damages should be pursued.