A nurse killed a 73 year-old travel agent after shoving a feeding tube into his lungs instead of his stomach and puncturing both organs.
John Flynn was found guilty of negligence over the October 2014 death of Mansoor Lahiji at a court hearing on March 16, with his employer Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, California, also convicted and ordered to pay $250,000 in damages.
The court was told how Lahiji was admitted to the medical center 11 days before his death after suffering a brain bleed. He underwent surgery and spent time in intensive care, before being transferred into a regular room as his condition improved.
But once there, Lahiji was fatally injured after Flynn unsuccessfully tried to insert the feeding tube to provide nutrition, with the victim’s wife Nahid watching as the nurse attempted the botched procedure.
She said: ‘He was telling me that the tube was not in the right place. It was in the wrong place.
‘He was telling me that we have to remove it and then retry.’
Nahid said she repeatedly asked Flynn to call for a colleague to complete the procedure if it wasn’t his area of expertise, only for him to respond: ‘I know what I’m doing, don’t worry.’
After another nurse arrived to take over from Flynn, she realized the feeding tube was in Lahiji’s lung and pulled it out, causing a horrific injury akin to pulling a nail out of a tire.
Family attorney Nora Hovsepian said: ‘He basically suffocated.
And Nahiji’s family were further distressed when his death certificate listed the cause of his passing as ‘subdural hematoma’ – the brain bleed that had first seen him admitted to hospital, rather than the botched procedure that ultimately killed him.
Lahiji’s daughter Dr Arta Lahiji, a New York-based physician, called the coroner’s office to query the cause of death, and was appalled to discover the hospital had sent nothing about her father’s lung injuries.’
A subsrquent complaint filed by Dr Lahiji said: ‘ Little Company of Mary engaged in an outrageous cover-up afterwards, including destroying my father’s telemetry strips and code blue run sheet, and sending incomplete records to the Los Angeles coroner.’
An investigation by the coroner’s office upheld the family’s complaint, and updated Lahiji’s cause of death, the Daily Breeze reported.
During a subsequent trial, jurors found the hospital 60% responsible for Lahiji’s death, and Flynn 40% responsible. The nurse had tried to blame a colleague for the injuries caused by the improper intubation procedure, only for Nahid Lahiji to testify that she’d seen him administer the botched treatment herself.
Flynn no longer works for the hospital, with lawyers for Little Company of Mary saying the hospital disputed the verdict.
They explained: ‘Our hearts go out to this family, and our thoughts are with them in their grief.
‘While we respect the judicial process, we do not agree with the decision. Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance strives to provide the highest quality level healthcare to our community and is a Magnet Hospital, which means our nurse team ranks among the top 6 percent in the nation.’
The hospital has since updated procedures so that only physicians can perform intubation procedures.
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