Is this a feeding tube or what??

In a complex system like a hospital where there are multiple players and a staggering variety of technologies all mixed up together, it is frequently the simple things that lead to big problems. Tubes are used for many purposes and tend to all look alike.

The excerpt below are from an article about medical tubing and injuries, it is from the New York Times written by Gardiner Harris

…Their deaths were among hundreds of deaths or serious injuries that researchers have traced to tube mix-ups. But no one knows the real toll, because this kind of mistake, like medication errors in general, is rarely reported. A 2006 survey of hospitals found that 16 percent had experienced a feeding tube mix-up.Experts and standards groups have advocated since 1996 that tubes for different functions be made incompatible — just as different nozzles at gas stations prevent drivers from using the wrong fuel.

But action has been delayed by resistance from the medical-device industry and an approval process at the Food and Drug Administration that can discourage safety-related changes.

Hospitals, tube manufacturers, regulators and standards groups all point fingers at one another to explain the delay.

Hospitalized patients often have an array of clear plastic tubing sticking out of their bodies to deliver or extract medicine, nutrition, fluids, gases or blood to veins, arteries, stomachs, skin, lungs or bladders.

Much of the tubing is interchangeable, and with nurses connecting and disconnecting dozens each day, mix-ups happen — sometimes with deadly consequences…

much more via US Inaction Lets Look-Alike Tubes Kill Patients

Here is a second link on this topic which explores a possible solution to the tube problem based on a strategy developed at Toyota Motors:

from the Postscript blog:  ….make medical tubing error-proof

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