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Incidents spark fresh alert on nasogastric tube insertion

A patient safety alert was issued last week by NHS England on the use of placement devices for inserting nasogastric tubes.

It was issued in response to two recently reported patient safety incidents, when enteral nutrition was unintentionally given into the respiratory tract through a misplaced nasogastric tube inserted with the aid of a placement device.

The alert has been issued to ensure all hospitals and community services follow previous guidance issued by the National Patient Safety Agency, even when placement devices are used.

The previous 2011 NPSA patient safety alert – Reducing the harm caused by misplaced nasogastric tubes in adults, children and infants – stated that a pH of 1 to 5.5 or an x-ray are “the only acceptable methods for confirming initial placement of a nasogastric tube”.

Readers' comments (2)

  • It is simple aspirate or xray
    why are patient's being put at risk
    more training needed

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  • I have been a nurse a long time, Noah's ark I trained, I think! I never knew of anyone in the above scenario until lately. Is this because these incidents are very rare or are they only being mentioned now to frighten nurses from enteral feeding (or to cover up for allowing patients to die hungry and thirsty)

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