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Over 200 Patient Deaths Linked to “Alarm Fatigue”

In a front-page story, the Boston Globe reported, “With the use of monitors rising, their beeps can become so relentless, and false alarms so numerous, that nurses become desensitized — sometimes leaving patients to die without anyone rushing to their bedside.” In some cases, busy nurses “have not heard or ignored alarms warning of failing batteries or other problems not considered life-threatening.” Overall, the deaths of more than “200 hospital patients nationwide” between January 2005 and June 2010 have been linked to “problems with alarms on patient monitors that track heart function, breathing, and other vital signs.” In a separate story, the Boston Globe reported that “nurses, doctors, and healthcare leaders are concerned about staff in hospitals across the US becoming desensitized to the noise.”

Solutions for “alarm fatigue” remain elusive. The Boston Globe said, “Hospitals, monitor manufacturers, researchers, and federal regulators are similarly grappling with how to reduce the rash of unheard and ignored alarms and other patient monitor problems.” Solutions being explored range from “relatively simple fixes to sophisticated technology.” Some, such as “UMass Memorial’s effort to reduce the number of monitored patients,” are being tried out in hospitals “while others are being tested in labs or debated by regulators.” However, most fixes are expensive, “and may not be practical, patient safety experts say, at a time when hospitals are under enormous pressure to cut costs.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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