My mother was hospitalized in the Dignity Health Woodland Memorial Hospital (aka Dignity Health Woodland Clinic, 1321 Cottonwood St Woodland, CA 95695) from the evening of Sunday, 9/30, to the afternoon of Friday, 10/5, because of bowel obstruction. She was supposed to have her stomach contents continuously suctioned out via a nasogastric tube until the bowel obstruction was resolved either on its own or surgically. The nasogastric tube suction was incorrectly connected between Monday and Tuesday, such that there was effectively no suction, and the contents in her stomach that was supposed to be suctioned out were left in there. None of the nurses on duty detected it. In fact, when we raised question about the apparent ineffectiveness of the suctioning, a nurse, Rosie, argued that the wrong setup was correct. Tuesday morning, a hospitalist, Maria Francesca Lewis, MD, came, and pointed out the incorrect setup of the nasogastric tube. Then she proceeded to covering up her nurse coworkers' mistake by lying to us (i.e., me and stepfather), saying that she talked to the consulting surgeon (Dr. Shah) for my mother's case on Monday afternoon and that surgeon ordered to stop suctioning (by clamping the nasogastric tube) overnight on Monday. She repeated her lie about 3-4 times to us and told us she was sorry that she forgot about this (non-existing) phone conversation with the surgeon earlier. When we checked with the nursing supervisor AND the surgeon later, both confirmed there was no such conversation and the surgeon did not order overnight clamping.
By the way, you don't clamp by not making the suction work, this is like a plumber who does not know how to fix a clogged sewer line leaving the sewer clogged and alleging he is testing whether the sewer really is clogged by not fixing it.
After the nasogastric tube setup was corrected, my mother got better day by day and was discharged from the hospital on Friday, 10/5. Education course(s) were ordered for nurses who did not detect or correct my mother's nasaogastric tube setup. More experienced nurses were arranged to take care of my mother. We never saw Maria Francesca Lewis again during the rest of my mother's hospital stay.
Gastric intubation via the nasal passage is one of the most common procedures. A nasogastric tube can be used for draining gastrointestinal secretions and swallowed air in patients with gastrointestinal obstructions, and extracting samples of gastric liquid for analysis, as it was in my mother's case, as well as feeding, administering drugs and other oral agents, and removing ingested toxic liquid. As patient and caretakers, we have very limited confidence in a health care facility that hires nurses who are incompetent in performing one of the most common procedures needed to save patient lives and restore their health, and we condemn doctor with the character flaw of lying blatantly about critical treatment information. We appreciated that Lewis pointed out the nurses' error, but then the lying turned our appreciation into distrust.