November 29, 2011 – Alarms on cardiac monitors, infusion pumps and ventilators have been named the number one hazardous technology in hospitals by ECRI Institute, a nonprofit independent research organization that tracks problems with medical devices. The alarms are meant to protect patients but have caused problems because of what is referred to as “monitor alarm fatigue.” Monitor alarm fatigue occurs when nurses become so desensitized to the constant beeping that they don’t hear or ignore important warnings that a patient’s condition might be worsening.
Ignored monitor alarms when a patient is in need of immediate medical attention can lead to increased heart or respiratory complications or other serious injuries resulting in catastrophic injury or death.
In May, an $850,000 settlement in a medical malpractice case was reached between the family of an 89-year-old man and Massachusetts General Hospital when nurses did not respond to alarms on the man’s cardiac monitor. The alarms on his heart monitor started going off as a warning to nurses that his heart rate had fallen and finally stopped over a 20-minute span. However, nurses did not respond to the alarms. The man was found unresponsiveness when a nurse entered his room for a routine test and later died.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving pharmaceutical and drug product injuries. Our skilled team of attorneys has successfully pursued litigation and obtained verdicts and settlements for victims of medical malpractice and medical device injuries. For more information on monitor alarm fatigue or if you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death due to an ignored monitor alarm at a hospital, please contact our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at 1-877-MessaLaw.