Lawsuit: Lacey pneumonia patient died after feeding tube was inserted into lung

Providence Health and Services is among the defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit over the death of a 49-year-old Lacey man.

The case was filed this week in Thurston County Superior Court. According to court documents, Lacey resident John M. East went to Providence St. Peter Hospital on Christmas Day, and was treated for mild pneumonia. Two days later, he returned with worsening symptoms and was admitted to the hospital.

On Dec. 30, court documents say Providence nurses inserted a feeding tube into East’s left lung. Although the X-ray showed the feeding tube in East’s lung, the lawsuit says a doctor wrongly concluded that the tube was in the duodenum. The tube feedings were then ordered. Another doctor discovered the improperly placed feeding tube, and an attempt was made to clear the man’s lung, according to documents. But East’s condition worsened, and he died Jan. 5, 2014.

The complaint for wrongful death and professional negligence was filed by his wife, Deanna East. The couple are parents of four adult children.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include Dr. Katherine Hogg with South Sound Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, and Dr. Thomas Luetkehans of South Sound Radiologists.

The Olympian was unable to reach the two doctors for comment Friday, and a Providence spokesman said the organization could not comment on the case at this time.

A trial in the case is scheduled for June 6, 2016, according to court documents.