An NHS trust has apologised to the family of a woman who died in one of its hospitals after a feeding tube was unintentionally placed into her lung.

Puspa Monji, from Brent, died in March at Northwick Park Hospital from aspiration pneumonia caused by 200ml of feed, which had been put down the tube.

The 85-year-old had been treated for an abdominal hernia but, during her recovery, which required assisted feeding, the hospital made a series of errors.

Dame Jacqueline Docherty, chief executive of London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It is clear from our own internal investigation and subsequent inquest that we let Puspa Monji and her family down.

“We failed to follow our agreed processes, and for that I am truly sorry.

“We extend our sincere condolences to Puspa’s family and have offered to meet with them as soon as possible.”

“Since the incident we have provided additional training and guidance for ward staff, strengthened our policy and processes and introduced regular reviews and audits.

“It is our aim and our wish to make sure that events such as these never happen again.”

Due to the risk of a feeding tube being threaded through a patient’s lung as opposed to their stomach, it is common for hospitals to test for stomach acidity and carry out x-rays.

In Puspa’s case, the tube was, at first, fitted correctly. But it was removed before feeding and, when re-fitted, was threaded through her lung.

Despite this being picked up during a second x-ray, a date mix-up meant the doctor thought the initial image showed the current position of the tube.

Nurses were unable to carry out an acidity test due to technical issues, but the initial, incorrect x-ray was deemed sufficient evidence that it was safe to begin feeding.

Almost immediately, Puspa complained of increasing pain and a new x-ray confirmed that the feed had entered her lung.

She developed pneumonia and died a couple of days later.

Kishan Parshotam, Puspa’s grandson, said: “Knowing that my grandmother’s death was preventable is extremely tough for us all.

“Puspa, or ‘Ma’ as we fondly called her, was an incredible mother and grandmother, who had a challenging life. To have lost her to mistakes and negligence is devastating.”

An inquest into her death declared that it had been caused by consequences of medical treatment contributed to by neglect.

Puspa’s family are pursuing a legal claim and solicitors from Leigh Day solicitors are in contact with the trust.

Michael Roberts, who is working on the claim, said: “Although nothing can be done to reverse the tragic events of this case, the family take solace from the outcome of the inquest and hope that lessons have been learnt so that others will not have to suffer as Puspa did.”