Two students at Addicott Elementary School in east-central Fresno were hospitalized after ingesting bleach via their feeding tubes.
According to a Fresno Unified School District email sent on Sept. 19, the students were in stable condition.
The district’s special education department reported that school staff accompanied the students to Valley Children’s Hospital after they ingested “a water solution which included bleach in it.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, ingesting bleach can cause nausea, chest pain, lowered blood pressure, delirium, coma and potentially death.
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Addicott Elementary serves students with severe disabilities. Principal Katrina Pleshe confirmed the incident happened last week but did not release further details.
“An incident did take place at our school site, and it’s currently under investigation,” Pleshe said Monday.
Pleshe would not elaborate on how the bleach came in contact with the students’ feeding tubes. Feeding tubes should be cleaned by flushing with warm water, according to multiple health agencies.
“You would never, ever use bleach on any part of the tube that is going into the child’s body,” said Traci Nagy, director of the organization, Feeding Tube Awareness. “The strongest thing we ever recommend (for cleaning) is dish soap.”
Dr. Kammi Sayaseng, who teaches nursing courses at Fresno State, said bleach would not be recommended to clean feeding tubes.
“We would not use bleach – just warm water,” Sayaseng said.
Gabriella Ramirez, whose 10-year-old son attends Addicott Elementary, and also uses a feeding tube, was furious Monday that parents were not notified of the incident.
“I can’t believe I’m just finding this out. They didn’t even let us parents know,” she said. “My son is tube-fed. I need to know how this happened, where it happened. I have to know who did this.”
Addicott Elementary enrolls about 50 students and employs one registered nurse, five licensed vocational nurses and two health assistants.
The school recently underwent major construction, which included nearly $3 million in renovations. An event celebrating the renovations will be sometime in October.