Tubing misconnections come to the forefront

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

September 1, 2010

Since 1996, many experts and standards groups have called for medical tubing regulation to prevent medical errors, but 14 years later, no such regulation exists, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

The regulation many patient safety groups have called for is to make tubes meant for different functions, such as oxygen, feeding, and IV medication—be made incompatible so they cannot be accidentally hooked up incorrectly. The New York Times reports action on such regulation has been delayed by resistance from the medical device industry and a tedious Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process.

The FDA has issued three alerts to hospitals and manufacturers warning about tube mix-ups, "the most recent of which was sent out last month after The Times began asking about the issue," reports the Times.