According to ProPublica, a dozen patients in Rhode Island have died in the last three years after artificial airways were inserted into the esophagus by non-paramedic EMS personnel.
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.
In the world of emergency medicine, an unrecognized esophageal intubation is a “never event,” meaning that it shouldn’t happen under any circumstances. In Dr. Nick Asselin’s study, the rate of unrecognized esophageal intubations was about 4%.
Rhode Island is the only state in New England, and among a minority nationally, that allows non-paramedics to intubate patients.Read more at www.propublica.org