Nasogastric Tube – Part 2
There are several management errors that can be made by physicians and other healthcare providers when inserting NGT’s and managing them. One serious and possibly life-threatening error is the use of benzacaine (also known as Hurricaine spray) spray to numb the back of the throat before insertion. Although uncommon, the use of this topical anesthetic can cause a blood disorder known as methemoglobinemia, which prevents the red
blood cells from binding oxygen. Hurricaine spray is packaged in a small yellow plastic bottle with a metal spray dispenser.
A second error made by providers is allowing a patient to vomit around a nasogastric tube. Although it is not uncommon for patients to gag and vomit when the tube is being inserted, vomiting should never occur afterwards. A properly positioned and functioning NGT will adequately drain the stomach of gastric juices. Almost universally physicians will recoomend that if a patient vomits, a provider must be called to address the mechanical problem with the tube. Ordering an anti-nausea (anti-emetic) medication over the phone is not acceptable.
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