Margaret, whose name has been changed for reasons of privacy
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Never events: Hospital 'put feeding tube into lungs'

An elderly hospital patient died after a feeding tube was inserted into her lungs instead of her stomach.

It is one of the 762 serious preventable incidents in hospitals across England in the last four years, according to figures revealed in a BBC investigation.

Margaret, whose name has been changed for reasons of privacy, told Nicola Beckford of BBC Radio 4's The World at One how the mistake led to her mother contracting aspirated pneumonia as her lungs drowned in liquid feed.

Dr Mike Durkin, director of patient safety for NHS England said the 700 "never events" were "too many". "One is too many in any week, in any day, in any hospital," he said.

He said NHS England had started collating the data in order to help educate staff on better practice.

"We need to understand what it is in some systems and in some hospitals that that team working hasn't produced an effective outcome and a mistake and a "never event" has occurred," Dr Durkin said.

"This is not just the concern of one operating theatre in one hospital, it should be the concern of the leadership of that organisation, of the trust so that they lead that trust and support both the staff in the operating theatres to work effectively but also recognise their responsibility for leading safety across the whole of the trust."

Listen to the full report on The World at One on BBC Radio 4 at 13:00 BST on Thursday 9 May and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

  • 09 May 2013