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Woman died after breathing tube put in food pipe

A mother-of-one died after a breathing tube was put into her food pipe, despite staff raising concerns it was inserted incorrectly, an inquest heard.

Emma Currell, 32, had just received dialysis and was heading home to Hatfield, Hertfordshire, in an ambulance when she had a seizure. 

An anaesthetic team was called to sedate her as her tongue had swelled and she was bleeding from the mouth.

Dr Sabu Syed, who was a trainee anaesthetist, told the hearing: "I used suction to remove blood and I was able to push the tongue to the side and got a partial view."

She said she believed she inserted the tube into the trachea - the windpipe - and had asked her senior colleague Dr Prasun Mukherjee to check the position of the tube.

"Dr Mukherjee was busy doing other tasks," she added.

Technician Nicholas Healey said he flagged his concerns when there was no carbon dioxide reading on the ventilator, which was not faulty.

He said that both he and Dr Syed had raised concerns about the tube being in the wrong place.

The court heard the hospital had drawn up a guideline checklist for trachea procedures since Ms Currell's death and staff were due to have "no trace = wrong place" training on the warning signs of incorrect insertion.

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Source: BBC News, 27 February 2023



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