Misplaced Breathing Tubes Have Caused 12 Patient Deaths In Rhode Island. But Some Say Suggested Solution Could Cost Lives.
Rhode Island is the only state in New England, and among a minority nationally, that allows non-paramedics to intubate patients. The practice has led to 12 patient deaths in the past two years, as air is pumped into their stomach instead of their lungs. But first responders say limiting who can intubate patients would result in more deaths.
EMS Crews Brought Patients To The Hospital With Misplaced Breathing Tubes. None Of Them Survived.
In the summer of 2018, Dr. Nick Asselin was doing research on cardiac arrests in Rhode Island when he made a horrifying discovery. Hospital records showed patients had been arriving by ambulance with misplaced breathing tubes, sending air into their stomachs instead of their lungs, essentially suffocating them. At first, he said, there were four cases, then seven. More trickled in. (Arditi, 12/3)
A Misplaced Breathing Tube Can Be Fatal. New Studies Suggest They Should Be Used Less Often.
As Rhode Island confronts the risks associated with EMS personnel inserting breathing tubes in cardiac arrest patients, new studies suggest that the practice should be limited outside hospitals. Two separate studies published last year, one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom, offer fresh evidence that patients fare at least as well, if not better, when emergency medical services workers opted for alternatives to intubating. (Arditi, 12/3)