Family sues Northwick Park Hospital for ‘neglect’ after grandmother dies from feeding tube connected to her lung

Puspa Monji who died due to negligence at Northwick Park

Puspa Monji who died due to negligence at Northwick Park - Credit: Archant

The family of an 85-year-old woman who died when a feeding tube was inserted into her lung instead of her stomach at Northwick Park Hospital are suing health chiefs.

Puspa Monji was admitted to the Watford Road hospital, down the road from her home, in February for a routine operation to repair an abdominal hernia.

During her recovery she was correctly fitted with a feeding tube as there were concerns over her ability to swallow.

But for reasons unknown, after an x-ray was taken of that first tube’s position, a worker removed the tube and incorrectly placed a new one leading into her chest.

By the time a new x-ray confirmed the tube was in the wrong positon, about 200ml of feed had been delivered into Puspa’s lung.

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At the inquest into her death in August, senior coroner Andrew Walker said Puspa had died due to “consequences of medical treatment contributed to by neglect”.

He added that “there were many opportunities to prevent Mrs Monji’s death” saying the lack of labelling on the tube, the failure of the hospital staff to follow its own policies regarding the insertion of the tubes and the assessment of tube positioning had killed her.

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Puspa’s devastated family are suing the hospital, which has accepted full responsibility for her death.

Her grandson Kishan Parshotam, who lived with her, said: “Knowing that my grandmother’s death was preventable is extremely tough for us all. Puspa, or Ma as we fondly called her, was an incredible mother and grandmother, so down to earth, so humble and so caring.

“To be told of her death was a real shock to the system as we were looking forward to welcoming her home.

“To have lost her to mistakes and negligence is devastating.”

He added he wanted to ensure “no other family has to endure what we have had to in dealing with Ma’s death”.

Any money received will be donated to charity, Kishan confirmed,

He added: “The trust hasn’t really reached out to us or apologised,

“They breached all deadlines for the coroner, because they can – there are no repercussions.”

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust’s chief Dame Jacqueline Docherty said: “It is clear from our own internal investigation and subsequent inquest that we let Puspa Monji and her family down.” We failed to follow our agreed processes and for that I am truly sorry.

“We extend our sincere condolences to Puspa’s family and have offered to meet with them as soon as possible.

“Since the incident we have provided additional training and guidance for ward staff, strengthened our policy and processes and introduced regular reviews and audits. It is our aim and our wish to make sure that events such as these never happen again.”

As well as money they receive in compensation going to charity Kishan said his family would like to see a legacy to Puspa in place.

“We’d like a ward or the new policy the coroner asked them to write to be named after her to serve as a constant reminder of what happened and ensure it never happens to anyone else.”

Leigh Day solicitor Michael Roberts said: “Although nothing can be done to reverse the tragic events of this case, the family take solace from the outcome of the inquest and hope that lessons have been learnt so that others will not have to suffer as Puspa did.”

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