Shocking death toll after NHS medics mix-up patients' food and air tubes over last five years
Nearly 30 patients have died after blundering NHS staff misplaced feeding tubes into their airways, MailOnline can reveal.
Over the past five years, 145 incidents of wrongly inserted nasogastric tubes have been officially recorded by hospitals in England.Twenty-eight ended in death.
Patients who have difficulty swallowing, such as stroke victims, can be fed or given medication through plastic tubes that go up the nose, and then loop down into the stomach.
In extremely rare cases, medics mistakenly place the tube into the patient's airways, which can cause them to slowly drown as fluids seep into their lungs.
The NHS classifies such accidents as 'never events', meaning they should be totally avoidable if protocol is followed.
Although half of NHS Trusts in England reported zero incidents over the last five years, the so-called 'never event' happened seven times at Barts Health, seven times at United Lincolnshire Hospitals and six times at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.
Recent NHS incident reports for these mistakes that were accessed under Freedom of Information detail how the medical blunders have led to patients being injured by misplaced nasogastric tubes.