Grandmother died after feeding tube was wrongly inserted into her lung at Homerton Hospital, inquest hears

Andriana Georgiou

Andriana Georgiou - Credit: Archant

A feeding tube was mistakenly placed in a pensioner’s lungs at Homerton Hospital and left there despite obvious signs of the error, an inquest into her death heard this morning.

Grandmother Andriana Georgiou, 84, was admitted to the hospital in Homerton Row in December 2012 for specialist treatment after a stroke.

As she could not feed herself, a naso-gastric feeding tube was used to give her nutrition – but it was wrongly inserted into one of the retired clothes factory worker’s lungs instead of her stomach and is believed to contributed to her death from pneumonia 11 days later on December 15, Poplar Coroner’s Court was told.

Giving evidence at the inquest, nurse Veronica Dadzie said that a test showed her PH levels to be abnormally inflated, indicating the tube was placed incorrectly.

Senior nurse Sisphiwe Raseluma then said she insisted that an X-ray was booked by a doctor as it was “trust policy”.

But she claimed that Dr Kari Saastamoinen said he wanted to instead carry out a procedure known as the “whoosh test” – whereby air is syringed into the tube and a stethoscope used to determine whether the tube is correctly positioned.

Although using the test as a standalone assessment breached safety guidelines, Dr Saastamoinen allegedly said he was happy with the result and wanted the patient to be fed as soon as possible.

Most Read

Ms Raseluma told the proceedings she was extremely concerned as she had been a nurse for 20 years and that the ‘whoosh test’ was something only used in the “olden days.” She continued: “I had no idea I could escalate this but if it happened tomorrow I would take it to the medical directors, the most senior doctors in the hospital. I had never been in a situation of needing to go above the consultant.”

Dr John White, a partner at Blake Lapthorn solicitors representing the family said ahead of the inquest: “Feeding a patient down a tube misplaced in to the lungs is a so-called ‘never event’ that the NHS says it has resolved to prevent from ever occurring.

“Yet just such an event has happened here. The family is looking for answers.”

Dr Kari Saastamoinen is yet to give evidence.